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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

North Korea crisis: United States and South Korea to conduct joint exercise

The Pentagon said that 17,500 US service members would take part in the exercise between August 21 and August 31

A second North Korean soldier has fled North Korea in just over a month. Reuters.
A second North Korean soldier has fled North Korea in just over a month. Reuters.

The Pentagon announced on Friday that the United States and South Korea will launch a joint exercise called Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) amid escalating tensions with North Korea over its missile programme.

In a statement, the US said that 17,500 of its service members would take part in the exercise along with troops from allied nations Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Britain from August 21 to 31.

"UFG is computer simulated defensive exercise designed to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula," the statement read.

The latest development in the crisis over Pyongyang’s weapons ambitions comes one day after South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in promised there would be no war on the Korean peninsula.

"All South Koreans have worked so hard together to rebuild the country from the ruins of the Korean War," Mr Moon told a press conference on Thursday marking his first 100 days in office.

"I will prevent war at all cost," he added. "So I want all South Koreans to believe with confidence that there will be no war."

Last week, North Korea said it was ready to send missiles towards the US territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean following comments from President Donald Trump that if Pyongyang made any more threats they would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”.

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