South Korea is resuming joint military exercised with the United States that were previously scaled back or halted entirely for the last four years to allow former President Donald Trump to facilitate a nuclear understanding with North Korea.
In a report Friday, the Defense Ministry in Seoul said the South Korean military will resume combined field training drills with U.S. troops. The decision follows the election in May of conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol, who pledged during his campaign to bolster his country’s military ties with the U.S. and take a hardline stance on Pyongyang.
U.S. and South Korean troops will once again practice war scenarios in person, in addition to training with aircraft carrier groups and amphibious vehicles. About a dozen field exercises will be conducted in August and September.
President Yoon warned Friday that North Korea may soon ratchet up tensions when it deploys its seventh nuclear test, after shooting off a handful of ballistic missiles this year.
The tests serve as a reminder to South Korea that the weapons in North Korea leader Kim Jong Un’s nuclear arsenal pose a significant security threat that merits attention as the rest of the world remains focused on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Saying he has discussed the matter with the U.S., Yoon said, “We believe North Korea is prepared to conduct a nuclear test any moment they decide to do so.”