US, S.Korea to stage preparatory military drills before major exercise

SEOUL: South Korean and United States troops mull holding preliminary drills this week ahead of their annual combined training involving field manoeuvers, officials said on Tuesday.

In preparation for the Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise, which will take place from August 22 through September 1, the two countries will begin a four-day practise on crisis management on Tuesday, according to Yreports.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of South Korea emphasised that the routine exercise is defense-oriented in character because it is intended to increase the allies' preparation for joint battles.

It is also to "make sure the condition for the stable push for the transition of wartime operational control through the assessment of the full operational capability " under an agreed-upon plan for conditions-based Washington-to-Seoul OPCON transfer, it added.

The allies intend to perform a series of field exercises this year, including firing drills.

This week, South Korea, the US, and Japan conducted a trilateral missile defence exercise in Hawaii to implement a June agreement reached by their respective defence chiefs who met in Singapore for a regional security forum.
According to the official, eight warships and two aircraft, including the 7,600-ton South Korean destroyer Sejong The Great, took part in the Pacific Dragon ballistic missile detection and tracking exercise.

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