S Korea and US stage mock invasion of Kim’s N Korea
SEOUL - Agence France-PresseSouth Korean troops practiced a war scenario involving the occupation and stabilization of North Korea during a joint military drill with the United States last month, a report said yesterday.
The two allies, who staged a similar stabilization exercise in 2010, upgraded it to strengthen the role of the South Korean army in the event of an “emergency situation in the North,” Dong-A Ilbo newspaper said. It cited an unnamed senior government official, who said the manoeuvre, called Wind of Freedom, involved humanitarian assistance for North Koreans after occupying the communist state and restoring administrative services. The exercise was part of the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill held from Aug. 20-31. Seoul’s defense ministry spokesman declined to comment, saying details of military drills were confidential.
The North has habitually condemned the drill as a provocative prelude to war. “The practice... for the first time let the S Korean military lead overall operations to potentially stabilize the North, with the back-up by the U.S.,” said a military source quoted by Dong-A.