00:15 GMT +322 July 2019
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    This picture taken on February 2, 2015 shows US submarine USS Olympia (SSN-717) mooring at a South Korean naval base in Changwon

    South Korea, US Conduct Naval Drills Near North Korea

    © AFP 2019 / YONHAP
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    South Korean and US marines on Tuesday held joint drills near the border with North Korea, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the South Korean Marine Corps.

    TOKYO, (Sputnik) About 200 South Korean troops along some 20 US personnel stationed at Okinawa in Japan took part in the exercise. The drills took place near Ganghwa Island in the Yellow Sea, close to the North Korean coast.

    During the exercise, the troops infiltrated the territory of the simulated enemy, attacked the designated targets and escaped from the site.

    The Tuesday drills are part of the regular exercise Korea Marine Exercise Program, aimed at enhancing combat readiness and coordinated work of the troops of the two countries. However, never before have the exercises been held in such close proximity to North Korea.

    RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle
    © AP Photo / Northrop Grumman via U.S. Navy, Erik Hildebrandt

    On February 5, a joint three-day South Korean-US exercise began in the Sea of Japan, with the participation of a US nuclear-powered submarine.

    In March, the marine troops of South Korea and the United States are expected to conduct the annual landing drill in the South Korean port city of Pohang. About 1,000 US and 3,000 South Korean troops will participate in the exercise.

    In January, Pyongyang said it would suspend nuclear tests in case the United State cancelled its annual drills with the South. Washington dismissed the move, saying the Communist country keeps offering "false choices" instead of making real steps toward improving its relations with Seoul and the West.

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    South Korea, military exercises, United States, Korean Peninsula
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