Seoul, Sep 7 (IANS) South Korea and the US launched a joint anti-biological exercise on Monday to step up their combined response to potential biological attacks, the defence ministry announced.
The three-day Able Response 15 exercise will involve the defence departments of both the countries as well as the local health ministry and dozens of other institutions, The Korea Herald reported citing the ministry as saying.
“The latest South Korea-US biological defence exercise will examine and enhance the countries’ combined response system regarding the naturally- or intentionally-raised biological threats that can take place on the Korean Peninsula,” the ministry said.
The countries have been conducting the anti-bio exercise every year since 2011 amid increasing potential threats from North Korea’s biochemical weapons.
However, North Korea has condemned the drills deeming it as a war rehearsal for invasion against Pyongyang, consistently calling on the US to withdraw its 28,500 forces stationed in South Korea.
A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said that the Seoul-Washington joint military exercises have become a “main factor of aggravating confrontation and distrust” not only between Pyongyang and the US, but also between the two Koreas.
“The withdrawal of US forces from South Korea has become a requirement of the times, which brooks no further delay,” he added.