South Korea started a military exercise on Tuesday on a group of islands in the Yellow Sea. These are the first maneuvers on the country’s western border in six years. The training takes place in advance of an announced satellite launch in North Korea.
The South Korean military launched a three-day exercise on May 30 at the country’s western border. The maneuvers are taking place on a group of islands in the Yellow Sea – for the first time in six years. The training unfolds among others on Baengnyeong Island. This is the country’s westernmost island, located 209 kilometers as the crow flies from the capital Seoul.
According to the news agency Yonhap the army, the navy, the marine infantry and the air force are involved. A military spokesman is quoted as saying:
“We have tightened surveillance over the course of the exercises in light of possible provocations by North Korea.”
The agency writes that the South Korean military last conducted such an exercise six years ago. The long break was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts by the previous Seoul government to normalize relations with its northern neighbor.
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The South Korean military maneuvers are being carried out in advance of a satellite launch announced by North Korea. According to the North Korean military, the space apparatus is the country’s first spy satellite. The start will therefore take place in June. The military satellite is designed to collect information to “hold back” the US and its allies. The government in Pyongyang argues that the country must expand its military reconnaissance and modernize its offensive and defensive armament in view of the “unreasonable military exercises by the USA and South Korea”. Pyongyang also accuses Washington of conducting hostile espionage activities, including from the air, in and around the Korean Peninsula.
The United States has since warned North Korea before launching the satellite. The leadership in Pyongyang should refrain from making threats and instead engage in serious and sustained diplomacy, said US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel.
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