South Korea, US to hold largest ever annual war games

Seoul, Feb 7 (IANS) The military forces of South Korea and the US plan to stage their largest ever joint annual war games that are scheduled to kick off in early March, mobilising a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier.

A senior South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff official told senior members of the ruling Saenuri Party on Sunday that this year’s Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises will be carried out on the largest ever scale, mobilising the highest-tech weapons, Xinhua reported.

The joint annual military exercises are scheduled to kick off on March 7 that will run through April 30.

The Key Resolve command post exercise and the Foal Eagle field training exercise have been denounced by North Korea as a rehearsal for northward invasion.

In an apparent show of force against North Korea’s recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, the USS John C. Stennis, a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, will be mobilised during the upcoming drills, a South Korean military official said.

South Korea and the US are considering additional deployment of strategic assets during the exercises, including F-22 stealth fighters and B-2 stealth bombers capable of carrying nuclear bombs.

Pyongyang on Sunday launched a Kwangmyongsong-4 Earth observation satellite into orbit aboard a long-range rocket, which Seoul and Washington see as a long-range ballistic missile, in defiance of international warnings.

The rocket launch came about a month after what Pyongyang claimed was its first H-bomb test on January 6.

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