S.Korea, US kick off annual military exercise
South Korea and the United States on Monday kicked off their annual military exercise involving the large-scale field maneuvers that had been suspended for the past years.
The Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise, a newly-named summertime military exercise involving field maneuvers, would last through September 1, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The JCS said that the UFS exercise is defensive in nature as it has been annually staged, but the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has denounced the exercise as a dress rehearsal for northward invasion.
The UFS exercise will involve the large-scale field maneuvers that had not been staged for the past years under the previous South Korean government for peace drive with the DPRK.
The JCS noted that the field maneuvers were aimed to ensure the condition of a stable push for the transition of wartime operational control through the assessment of the full operational capability.
South Korea and the United States have agreed upon the conditions-based transfer of wartime operational control over South Korean troops from Washington to Seoul.
South Korea's wartime command was handed over the US-led UN command after the 1950-53 Korean War broke out. South Korea won back its peacetime operational control in 1994.
Before the UFS exercise, the two allies conducted preliminary drills last week to practice procedures to respond to possible pre-war crisis scenarios.