Our top story this afternoon… South Korea and the United States has begun their largest-ever annual joint military drill. The allies decided to make this year’s extra large following North Korea’s recent nuclear test and long-range missile launch. Kim Hyun-bin reports. South Korea’s defense ministry says it will strongly retaliate if North Korea carries out a provocation during the drills. “If North Korea continues to ignore our warnings and carries on with its provocations,… we will sternly counter them and the regime will be responsible for its reckless actions.” , , . The allies’ annual joint military drills dubbed ‘Key Resolve’ and ‘Foal Eagle’ are now underway as tension simmers on the Korean Peninsula. The exercises, which run through the end of April, will involve almost 300-thousand South Korean and 15-thousand American troops.
What’s new this year is that the allies will practice Operational Plan 5015. It will see the forces check what they would do during a preemptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear facilities and missile sites. The troops will also conduct training missions involving the 4Ds, namely detect, disrupt, destroy and defend. As well as twice as many U.S. troops taking part this year,… the U.S. will deploy some key military hardware to the Korean Peninsula for the exercises. They include an aircraft carrier, nuclear submarine and airborne tanker. There’s also word Washington could deploy its nuclear capable B-2 stealth bomber. In a real-life combat scenario,… the aircraft could fly into North Korean territory undetected and take out key military facilities. Experts say Kim Jong-un fears the B-2 the most due to its stealth and bombing capabilities. A South Korean military official says Seoul and Washington will retaliate with more than ten times the force if North Korea launches a provocation aimed at the drills. The exercises will run through April 30th.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News. .
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