Military exercise “Freedom Shield”: USA and South Korea start maneuvers

Status: 03/13/2023 09:28 am

South Korea and the US have launched their largest joint military exercises in five years. With the ten-day maneuver, both countries are reacting to North Korea’s increased aggression. Pyongyang responds with weapons tests.

With a large-scale maneuver, the United States and South Korea have started their most extensive joint military exercises in years. The exercise is called “Freedom Shield”. It includes a computer simulation and several combined field exercises. The mission is expected to last at least ten days and is a response to North Korea’s increased aggression.

Exact details about the course of the exercises are not known. However, it was reported that the computer simulation was designed to strengthen defense and responsiveness against the backdrop of increasing nuclear threats from North Korea and other changing security environments. The aim is to demonstrate the “extended deterrence” of the USA against the threat from North Korea.

A statement from the US military said the field exercises should improve cooperation between the armies of both countries in the air, on land, at sea, in space in the cyber area and with a view to special operations. In addition, one wants to optimize tactics, techniques and procedures.

Pyongyang fears invasion

North Korea had fired two strategic cruise missiles from submarines before the exercises began. According to the state news agency KCNA, the test was successful and the projectiles had reached their intended targets. The missile test is an expression of “North Korea’s determination” in a situation in which “the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet troops are becoming increasingly blatant in their anti-North Korean manoeuvres.”

Pyongyang had warned in advance that Seoul’s and Washington’s maneuvers could be interpreted as a “declaration of war.” North Korea sees such military exercises as a test run for a possible invasion to initiate regime change. KCNA also suggested that North Korea intends to equip the tested missiles with nuclear warheads. At the end of last year, North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un declared his country a nuclear power.

North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released images of the cruise missiles being fired from a submarine. The recordings cannot be independently checked for authenticity.

Image: via REUTERS

tensions increase

Military tensions on the Korean peninsula have recently increased significantly. The communist leadership in Pyongyang repeatedly threatens a military escalation in the region and beyond.

The recently tested cruise missiles would be able to stay in the air for more than two hours. The weapons test shows that Japan, and thus US military bases in Okinawa, are within range of the missiles tested, said Kim Dong Yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

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