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S.Korea, US to stage preparatory military drills before major exercise

Seoul, Aug 16 (IANS) South Korean and US troops plan to hold preliminary drills this week in advance of their annual combined training involving field manoeuvers, officials said on Tuesday.

The two nations are scheduled to kick off the four-day exercise on Tuesday, focused on crisis management, in the run-up to the Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise set to run from August 22 through September 1, reports Yonhap News Agency.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stressed that the regular practice is defence oriented in nature as it is aimed at strengthening the allies’ joint combat readiness.

It is also to “ensure the condition for the stable push for the transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) through the assessment of the full operational capability (FOC)” under an agreed-upon plan for conditions-based Washington-to-Seoul OPCON transfer, it added.

This year,the allies plan to conduct a set of field training including firing drills.

South Korea and the US also held a trilateral missile defence exercise, also involving Japan, in the waters near Hawaii earlier this week to follow up on an agreement in June among their defence chiefs, who gathered in Singapore for a regional security forum.

Participating in the Pacific Dragon ballistic missile detection and tracking exercise were eight warships and two aircraft, which include the 7,600-tonne Sejong The Great destroyer of South Korea, according to an informed source.


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