United States scales back deployment to Korea for drills

South Korean soldier killed in blast during artillery drill

Around 50-thousand South Korean soldiers joined the drill.

"I think we should stick to the principle of denuclearization (on the Korean Peninsula)", he said when asked about lawmakers from the main opposition Liberty Party of Korea, who vowed to push for redeployment of United States tactical nuclear weapons to prevent against the North's military threat.

The US and South Korea would begin a 10-day-long annual military exercise next week, the Pentagon said today amid the continued provocative behaviour from North Korea.

The exercises known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian came under verbal attack from North Korea this week, when Pyongyang warned of a "second Korean War" should Seoul and Washington go ahead with the drills.

These drills are an annual exercise, and we don't really need them to prepare for military eventualities. Approximately 17,500 USA troops will take part, with about 3,000 coming from off-peninsula. Training exercises like UFG are carried out in the spirit of the October 1, 1953, ROK-U.S.

After a week of high tensions, Pyongyang also stated leader Kim Jong Unwould "monitor" the United States before taking unprecedented measures against Guam, the location of a key USA air force base.

North Korea has fired missiles and taken other steps in response to the war games in the past.

In a brief statement issued Friday, the North Korean state-run Korean Central News Agency declared the drills would "further drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula into a catastrophe".

Dunford restated Washington's "ironclad commitment" to the security of its close Asian ally, Japan, on Friday, telling his counterpart in Tokyo that "an attack on one is an attack on both of us".

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