Backgrounder: South Korea's major military exercises in 2010

17:19, December 23, 2010      

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South Korea's Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that it was launching a three-day drill in waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, while a joint drill between the Army and the Air Force will begin Thursday at a firing range in the Pocheon region 40 km northeast of Seoul.

Following are some major military exercises South Korea has conducted this year.

-- March 8-18, South Korea and the United States started their annual joint military exercises called Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, a day after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) denounced them as a preparation for invasion and threatened to strengthen its nuclear deterrence. About 38,000 troops from South Korea and the United States participated in the drill.

-- March 25, South Korea and the United States started joint exercises. They had to stop after the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan.

-- May 27-28, the South Korean Navy held a large-scale anti-submarine drill in the Yellow Sea, after announcing on May 20 that the Cheonan warship was sunk by the DPRK.

-- July 25-28, the United States and South Korea jointly staged large-scale anti-submarine exercises, code-named "Invincible Spirit," in waters off the east coast of the divided Korean Peninsula, as the first of a series of military "countermeasures" against DPRK in response to the Cheonan incident. About 20 ships and submarines, including the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, 200 aircraft and 8,000 troops took part in the drills.

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