The allies will begin their annual summer exercises next month after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, vowed to “normalize” joint exercises and step up deterrence against the North.
South Korea and the United States plan to hold 11 joint field exercises this summer, including one at the brigade level, the ministry said. And they aim to conduct regimental level or higher joint field exercises, it said.
“Among other things, we plan to hold exercises for the combined aircraft carrier propulsion team training and amphibious operations soon,” South Korea’s Defense Minister Lee Jong-sub told reporters.
Both sides have scaled back their joint military exercises in recent years due to COVID-19 and efforts to ease tensions with the North.
North Korea is believed to be preparing for its seventh nuclear test this year, conducting an unprecedented series of missile tests.
President Yoon said Pyongyang could pass the test, the first since 2017 “at any time.”
The defense ministry said it will improve missile detection capabilities and push for early deployment of a new interceptor system to better counter missile threats targeting South Korea’s capital.
Yoon instructed the defense ministry to make every effort to boost the country’s missile defense system against threats from the North, his spokesman Kang In-sun said.
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