SEOUL: South Korea yesterday deployed destroyers, jet fighters, attack helicopters and rocket launchers in a major live-fire drill against the threat of North Korea landing troops, the defence ministry said.
“The joint live-fire drill was aimed at repelling landings by enemy forces along the east coast,” a ministry spokesman said.
South Korea has carried out a series of recent military exercises — both alone and jointly with allied nations — sparking angry condemnations from the North and threats of counter-attacks that have not materialised.
Earlier this month, Pyongyang threatened “all out war” following a two-day drill involving a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier alongside South Korean and Japanese vessels began off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula.
Tension soared at the beginning of the year after the North’s third nuclear test in February, but then appeared to enter a rapprochement stage that saw the two rivals agree to reopen their joint industrial park in Kaesong.
The mood quickly soured again when Pyongyang cancelled a scheduled reunion last month for family members separated by the Korean War.
In May 2011, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd, South Korea’s largest plane maker, signed a $400m deal to sell 16 T-50 Golden Eagle trainer jets to Indonesia, marking South Korea as the first time for the country in Asia to export supersonic jets.
From time to time, South Korea has sent its troops overseas to assist American forces. It has participated in most major conflicts that the United States has been involved in the past 50 years.