South Korea and the United States are holding the biggest joint military exercise they have ever organised.
South Korea and the United States are holding the biggest joint military exercise they have ever organised. The 11-day manoeuvres which began last Tuesday (7 March) involve 107,000 American and South Korean army, navy and air force personnel. "Operation Team Spirit" is being staged as the United States plans to withdraw 6,000 men from Korea later this year; the first batch of 33,000 servicemen to be sent home over the next four or five years.
SYNOPSIS: A highlight of the operation was an amphibious landing at night by a United States marine task force centred on the carrier, the U.S.S. Midway, anchored near the south - eastern port of Pohang. The landing began on Sunday (12 March) and continued throughout the night.
An American military spokesman said the aim of "Operation Team Spirit" was to demonstrate the capability of the United States to move ready-to-fight forces to Sough Korea from bases as far afield as Hawaii. Of more than thirty thousand Americans involved in the exercise more than two thirds arrived in Korea just days before, from bases in the Pacific and the United States itself. According to Reuters news agency, official North Korean newspapers have condemned the operation, calling it "a very grave provocative act".
The American spokesman said the purpose of the exercise was not to train troops in the field, but to give the two countries the chance to work together at command level.
Another new arrival in South Korea was the "Lance" surface-to-surface guided missile. The simulated use of the weapon in South Korea involved a conventional warhead but the missile is also capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. The troops handling the Lance were specially flown in to demonstrate the weapon.