South Korea and the United States kicked off their largest joint military exercise in years on Monday.
The combined springtime “Freedom Shield” exercise will be staged for eleven consecutive days, involving over 20 outdoor live exercises around the Korean Peninsula aimed at checking up on the allies’ joint defense posture and strengthening their response capability.
The exercise will incorporate real-life combat scenarios, reflecting the changing security environment with advancing threats from North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles.
Coming off the joint crisis management exercise last week, a de facto rehearsal of the “Freedom Shield” exercise, the allies will skip the first stage of the drill focusing on defense training to practice counterattacking and repelling scenarios as well as the stabilization of the North afterward.
The drill will be larger in size and scope than in previous years, effectively reviving field training exercises for the first time in five years after being suspended under the Moon Jae-in government.
In connection to the exercise, the allies are also pushing for joint aircraft carrier training including the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz, as well as a trilateral missile warning drill involving Japan.