South Korea and the U.S. are set to conduct their largest-ever combined live-fire drills in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday as the two nations observe the 70th anniversary of their military alliance this year.
The exercises, which will be held five times through June 15, are expected to mobilize advanced weapons systems, including F-35A stealth fighters, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, K2 tanks and Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers, while U.S. Forces Korea will likely deploy F-16 fighter jets and A-10 attack aircraft.
The training has been held eleven times since 1977, with the most recent maneuvers held in 2017.
There is speculation that North Korea may strongly protest with a provocation due to the proximity of the drills to the Military Demarcation Line dividing the Korean Peninsula.
Last week, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency called the planned exercise an “expanded war game against the regime.”