US and South Korean troops will conduct the largest joint military exercises in five years on the Korean peninsula later this month as tensions with neighboring North Korea remain high.
The 11-day exercises begin March 13 and include simulations as well as live demonstrations in the sea, air, and land, US Forces Korea and the Republic of Korea announced Friday.
The exercises are likely to anger North Korea, which sees the exercises as provocative and a threat to its country.
North Korea has often responded by firing ballistic missiles into the region, setting off alarms in both South Korea and Japan.
The US and South Korea said the military exercise Freedom Shield, a computer-simulated commando exercise, will include UN command representatives, along with civilian personnel and representatives from the United Nations, according to a press release.
Also, troops will participate in another joint exercise called Warrior Shield FTX, which will see air, land, sea, space, cyber and special operations exercises.
The last major exercise of a similar size that the US and South Korea conducted on the Korean Peninsula was Foal Eagle in 2018.
Negotiations between former President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and later the COVID-19 pandemic, largely suspended military exercises, but the US and South Korea began resuming operations last year.
Friday’s announcement comes about a week after North Korea test-fired cruise missiles that traveled more than 1,000 miles and followed a figure-eight pattern before landing in the Sea of Japan.
The missile test was in response to joint US and South Korean naval exercises the day before.
North Korea fired an unprecedented number of missiles last year, and Kim ordered an “exponential increase” in the country’s nuclear arsenal early this year.
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