05:43 GMT +322 July 2017
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    South Korea and US Marines run to a position during a joint military drill at a fire training field in the southeastern port of Pohang on July 6, 2016

    US Troops in South Korea Practice Disabling DPRK Weapons of Mass Destruction

    © AFP 2017/ JUNG YEON-JE
    Military & Intelligence
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    US troops stationed in South Korea have conducted a ship-to-shore air assault exercise to practice destroying North Korean weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

    US Army forces carried out the "Warrior Strike 7" exercise at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex near the inter-Korean border and north of Seoul at Camp Stanley in Euijeongbu.

    The 2nd Infantry Division posted to Facebook that, "The exercise is designed to enhance the battalions' skills in counter-WMD operations," calling it the first such drill to be conducted with a South Korean vessel, the warship Dokdo. 

    A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency
    © REUTERS/ U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout

    With the assistance of South Korean soldiers, US troops on board a helicopter practiced infiltrating a mock enemy facility to develop their capacity to speedily disable a WMD, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

    The drills come days after North Korea conducted what some analysts consider its most successful missile launch to date, one which North Korean media claims expanded its missiles’ capability to carry a nuclear warhead and placed the US mainland within its striking range.

    Pyongyang’s state run Korean Central News Agency wrote that the test was conducted "with the aim of confirming the tactical specifications and technical characteristics of the new long-range strategic ballistic rockets capable of loading powerful heavy-weight nuclear warheads."

    The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has also begun preparing for a cruise missile attack from the US following last month’s strike against a Syrian government air base.

    Troops from the Korean People’s Army were instructed to protect their gallery positions by replacing stone walls with sand-filled gunny sacks, as the fragments left from stone walls smashed by projectiles may cause casualties.

    US President Donald Trump told Reuters in late April, "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely." He added that Washington would “"love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult."

    Trump has also said that he would be willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un under unspecified circumstances.

    There are roughly 28,500 American soldiers currently stationed in South Korea.

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    Tags:
    weapons of mass destruction, WMDs, military exercises, military drills, US Armed Forces, South Korea
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