A reduction in US troops taking part in a joint exercise with South Korean forces this year simply reflects a need for fewer personnel and is not because of tensions with North Korea, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Sunday.
North Korea is threatening Australia as it joins in the massive annual U.S.
North Korea threatened recently to launch ballistic missiles into waters near Guam.
North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the US mainland has fueled a surge in tension. The "lax enforcement" of existing sanctions and Pyongyang's "evolving evasion techniques" were undermining the United Nation's goal of getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, Kyodo quoted the report as saying.
Called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, the joint drills will take place from August 21 to August 31 and involve computer simulations created to prepare for the unthinkable: war with nuclear-capable North Korea. The drills and the North Korean response come weeks after a fiery exchange of rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang, with President Trump vowing to respond to any North Korean threat with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".
It described North Korea as the "strongest possessor" of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland from anywhere. China is a key North Korean ally.
There will be no field training during the current exercise, according to U.S. Forces Korea.
North Korea slams next week's US-South Korea military exercises
An editorial carried by the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said: 'The joint exercise is the most explicit expression of hostility against us, and no one can guarantee that the exercise won't evolve into actual fighting.
Around 30 servicemen from the RAF, Navy and Army have flown to South Korea to take part in ten days of land, air and sea war games involving some 80,000 troops.
In response, Turnbull issued a statement saying North Korea had shown no regard for the welfare of its people and no regard for worldwide law.
It has already condemned these drills as pouring "gasoline on fire".
Continuing with its drumbeat of threats, Pyongyang also declared that its army can target the United States anytime, and neither Guam, Hawaii nor the U.S. mainland can "dodge the merciless strike".
This year the exercises will include 17,500 USA troops, 50,000 South Korean troops, and U.N. Command forces from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
USA defence secretary James Mattis said the smaller troop numbers were by design to achieve the exercise objectives. Russian Federation has also asked for the drills to stop but the United States has not backed down.
Fresh Threats From Pyongyang As Joint Military Exercise Begins
An image signifying Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), an annual joint military training exercise by South Korea and the United States. Leader Kim Jong-Un last week delayed the Guam strike plan, but warned it could go ahead depending on Washington's next move.
- Analyst's Proposition on Whiting Petroleum Corporation (WLL), Intel Corporation
- North Korea Slams Joint S. Korea-US Military Drills
- Missed the eclipse? America's next one is in 2024
- Mental evaluation ordered for man accused of killing 3 girls
- Costa Fumes at Conte Text Message
- Why Chrissy Teigen is cutting out alcohol
- Google adds new Rescue Party feature in Android Oreo to prevent bootloops
- NKorea issues trademark fiery rhetoric over US-SKorea drills
- Terror cell responsible for Barcelona attack busted, killer driver missing
- US, South Korea Seem to Scale Back War Games