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S. Korea, U.S. launch joint exercise despite DPRK warning

(Xinhua)

09:56, February 27, 2012

SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and U.S. forces launched their annual military exercise Monday, despite the latest warning by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it is " fully ready to fight a war."

The joint command post exercise "Key Resolve," slated for Feb. 27-March 9, has brought together 200,000 South Korean forces and 2, 100 U.S. troops for drills based on various scenarios of assumed threats to the defense of South Korea.

The DPRK, which remains technically at war with South Korea after the 1950-53 civil conflict ended with a truce, has routinely denounced the drills by the allies as preparation for a northward invasion.

"The army and people of the DPRK are fully ready to fight a war with them," Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency said Monday. "The warmongers will meet destruction in the fire kindled by them if they go reckless misjudging the strong will of the Koreans to defend peace."

Meanwhile, the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) said the drills are "routine and defense-oriented."

The allies will also hold field training exercise "Foal Eagle" between March 1-April 30, with South Korean personnel and 11,000 U. S. troops engaged in ground, air, naval and other operations.

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