US prepares for Pyongyang threats during joint drill with South Korea, Japan

South Korea, the U.S. and Japan began a two-day joint military drill on Tuesday morning. The missile tracking exercise will be conducted in the waters off the coasts of South Korea and Japan.
American aircraft carrier Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The U.S., South Korea and Japan launched a joint military drill Tuesday morning as part of the countries’ efforts to prepare for a possible North Korean missile or nuclear strike. According to a statement released by the South Korean army, the two-day missile tracking exercise will take place off the coasts of South Korea and Japan.

South Korean Defense Ministry Deputy Spokesperson Lee Jin-woo explained that the drill includes several exercises that were designed to increase the armies’ capabilities of detecting missile launches in advance due to the frequent threats from Pyongyang. “During the drill, the armies will practice detecting and tracking missiles in order to prepare for North Korea’s nuclear threat and missiles,” he stated.

The USS Ronald Reagan visits Busan, South Korea Photo Credit: EPA-EFE

The current drill is one of the many joint exercises that have taken place every couple of months as part of the strategic cooperation between the countries. Last year, Washington and Seoul agreed that they would work together to combat the threats from Pyongyang.

As reported by JOL on Monday, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. is preparing to put its nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert, according to U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.

Goldfein told Defense One that the decision was made to ensure that the U.S. was prepared, but did not state any specific threat, such as the one coming from North Korea. “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward,” he said. According to the report, placing the B-52 planes back on 24-hour alert is just one of several steps the air force is preparing to take.

Meanwhile, the Japanese defense minister commented yesterday on the North Korean threat, saying that it has turned into a major issue. The minister added that in order to deal with the threat effectively, the world needs to execute a “different response.”



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