S. Korea, US Set for ‘Largest Ever’ Drills

S. Korea, US Set for ‘Largest Ever’ DrillsS. Korea, US Set for ‘Largest Ever’ Drills

The US and South Korea are set to begin their largest ever joint military exercises amid high tensions on the Korean peninsula. More than 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 US troops will take part in the drills, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a military official.

South Korean defense minister Han Min-koo has said the exercises will be twice the size of last year, BBC reported.

The drills start days after the UN passed new sanctions on North Korea.

Security tensions have increased since the North tested a nuclear device in January, followed by a rocket launch.

The North responded to the sanctions by saying it was readying nuclear weapons for ‘pre-emptive’ use, and firing short-range missiles into the sea.

Military analysts doubt the country has the ability to put nuclear warheads on its missiles.

The exercises, which begin on Monday and run until 30 April, are intended to warn North Korea against provocations, Han was reported as saying.

North Korea sees the annual war games as a rehearsal for invasion.

The US and South Korea on Friday also began formal talks on the deployment of the US missile defense system to the peninsula, a move strongly opposed by North Korea, Russia and China.

Beijing says the Thaad anti-missile system compromises its security and would undermine its nuclear deterrent.