US, South Korea Begin Joint Military Drill

Posted August 16th, 2011 at 12:30 am (UTC-5)
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South Korea and the United States launched an annual joint military exercise Tuesday despite warnings from Pyongyang that the drill will damage hopes for peace on the peninsula.

The bilateral Combined Forces Command says it is conducting the 10-day, computer-assisted exercise to improve its ability to defend South Korea against a possible attack from North Korea.

U.S. General James D. Thurman, the CFC commander, says the forces are applying lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, “as well as those garnered by the Alliance's recent experiences with North Korean provocations.”

North Korea appealed last week for the exercise to the canceled, saying it would undermine efforts to restart talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.

Senior North and South Korean officials met last month in Indonesia for their first talks since North Korea shelled a border island killing four South Koreans in November. Relations already were strained over the sinking of a South Korean warship in March 2010.

North Korea routinely denounces military drills in the South as practice for an invasion. Washington and Seoul always reject the claims.