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S. Korea, U.S. launch joint military drill

(Xinhua)

12:46, August 20, 2012

SEOUL, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the United States on Monday launched a joint exercise aimed at enhancing defense readiness against potential security threats here, military officials said.

The computer-assisted simulation exercise, dubbed Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), will mobilize some 56,000 South Korean troops and 30,000 U.S. forces.

"Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a key exercise in strengthening the readiness of Republic of Korea and U.S. forces," Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the U.S. forces stationed here, said in a statement.

"It is based on realistic scenarios and enables us to train on our essential tasks with a 'whole of government' approach," he added.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s army has been informed of the launch of the annual drill and its non- provocative nature, according to officials.

The DPRK, which is technically still at war with South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce, warned last week the joint training can lead to a "sacred war".

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