VOA NEWS/SEOUL—The United States and South Korea will reportedly practice preemptive military strikes to take out North Korean nuclear sites next month when they begin the largest joint exercises ever conducted by the two allied forces.
In the wake of North Korea’s recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, Washington and Seoul will focus in part on defending against attacks by weapons of mass destruction during this year’s annual joint exercises.
In some scenarios being game planned by military strategists, the best defense is a good offense, one that would eliminate a North Korean missile site, nuclear facility or other strategic military target prior to an imminent attack.
“These types of exercises, this type of training, considering the nature of the threat, it’s going to be the new normal for North Korea, unless they were to roll back their nuclear program, which I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon,” said Northeast Asia security analyst Daniel Pinkston with Troy University in Seoul.
This year’s annual U.S., South Korean joint military exercises will start on March 7 and will involve 15,000 American troops, four times more than the 3,700 troops that participated last year, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
Australia, Canada and a number of other countries that fought with the U.S. during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 will also likely either participate or send observers.
The annual joint exercises include the Key Resolve strategic simulation drill, where U.S. and South Korean troops and military assets are deployed to respond to potential North Korean threats, and field exercises called Foal Eagle.