Seoul, US conduct largest-ever military landing drill

Seoul, March 12 (IANS) South Korea and the US on Saturday carried out their largest-ever landing drill in the port city of Pohang.

The landing drill involved 17,200 soldiers, including 12,200 American marine and navy troops, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Several key US vessels, including the USS Bonhomme Richard and amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland, were a part of the Amphibious Operations (AMPHOPS), which also simulated the destruction of major enemy installations.

Australia and New Zealand also participated in the drill.

The two countries are among the 17 nations that are currently stationing military forces under the flag of the UN Command, which backed South Korea in the 1950-1953 Korean War that ended in an armistice but was never followed up by a definitive peace treaty.

This is the first time that New Zealand has dispatched troops to Pohang, and Australia’s deployment is their largest so far.

The drill is a part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises carried out between Washington and Seoul, ongoing until the end of April.

North Korea considers the operations a rehearsal for a possible invasion.

Pyongyang said on Saturday it seeks to retaliate against the joint military exercises and is “waiting for the moment to punish the aggressors, keeping them within its firing range”.

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