US and South Korean forces are conducting the largest joint exercise in years

South Korea and the U.S hold a press briefing ahead of

The exercises, dubbed “Freedom Shield,” will take place from March 13-23 to strengthen the allies’ integrated defense posture, the two soldiers said at a briefing in Seoul.

“Freedom Shield is designed to strengthen the Alliance’s security and response capabilities by emphasizing issues such as the evolving security environment, DPRK aggression, and lessons learned from recent wars and conflicts,” the statement said. The official name of North Korea.

Previous drills have drawn strong reactions from North Korea, including missile launches and nuclear threats. Pyongyang has said such joint military operations demonstrate the hostility of Washington and its allies.

Asked about the North’s possible response, US Forces Korea (USFK) spokesman Colonel Isaac Taylor said the drills were routine and purely defensive.

South Korean officials have noted that North Korea conducts annual winter drills.

Freedom Shield includes field exercises on a scale not seen since 2017, before former US President Donald Trump scaled back public exercises to ease diplomacy with North Korea.

Talks with Pyongyang have long stalled, but in the intervening years COVID-19 restrictions have limited exercises. Allies are returning to large-scale drills as a warning to Pyongyang after records of missile launches from North Korea last year and South Korea’s elimination of anti-Bande operations.

Last month, South Korean and U.S. special operations forces conducted a live-fire exercise dubbed “Teak Knife,” in which U.S. AC-130J fighter jets took part in joint training for the first time, firing guided missiles and bombs as well as 30 and 105 mm cannons. .

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