US, S Korea begin joint military drills
SU: The US and South Korean militaries have launched their
annual joint drills despite North Korea's warnings that the exercises
could lead to an "all-out war." The 11-day Key Resolve/Foal Eagle drills
are the first regularly scheduled joint drills between Seoul and
Washington since a North Korean artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong Island
November 23 which left two South Korean marines and two civilians dead.
Pyongyang has denounced the drills as a provocative move and a
pretext to invade North Korea, while the US and South Korean officials
say the exercise is defensive in nature, AFP reported. The exercises
focus on raising the allies' ability to defend against small, sudden
attacks by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), said the
Combined Forces Command, adding that the drills are aimed at
strengthening the allies' readiness against all potential threats.
However, the North's military on Sunday threatened to retaliate
against the drills with a full-scale military attack that would turn
Seoul into a "sea of fire."If the aggressors launch provocation for a
'local war', the world will witness unprecedented all-out counteraction
on the part of the army and people of the DPRK (North Korea)," the North
Korean military said."
It will also see such merciless counteraction as engulfing Seoul in
sea of flames, whereby to smash every move for confrontation with
unimaginable strategy and tactics."
A total of 12,300 US troops and some 200,000 service members,
including reservists from South Korea, will participate in the joint
military drills, according to officials.In 2010, tension on the Korean
Peninsula reached its highest level since the 1950s' Korean War. Monday,