S. Korea, US launch 11-Day joint army Exercise

In a significant move, South Korea and the United States commenced one of their major military exercises on Monday, marking the first such event since the scrapping of the 2018 inter-Korean military accord by the divided Koreas last November.

Dubbed as “Freedom Shield,” the annual 11-day military exercise aims to bolster deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, according to reports from Seoul-based Yonhap News. Concerns have been raised that Pyongyang could perceive the maneuvers as a pretext for provocations.

The exercise is set to focus on “multi-domain operations,” incorporating land, sea, air, cyber, and space assets, with the goal of countering North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Both militaries have emphasized that the exercise is aimed at enhancing their combined defense posture.

This year’s exercise involves 48 military drills, more than double the number held last year, highlighting the seriousness with which the two allies view regional security challenges.

The deteriorating situation between North and South Korea escalated when Pyongyang completely scrapped the 2018-signed military pact, which was initially aimed at reducing tensions along the border. The move followed South Korea’s partial termination of the pact.

Pyongyang has consistently criticized the joint military drills between the US and South Korea, condemning them as rehearsals for an invasion. This rhetoric has been accompanied by multiple missile launches by North Korea this year, along with the deployment of a spy satellite into space last year, further escalating tensions in the region.– Web Desk