February 15, 2011 08:51
South Korea and the U.S. will stage an annual joint military drill in late February and early March to prepare for a sudden change in North Korea and local provocations. Until last year, the drill dubbed "Key Resolve/Foal Eagle" was meant as preparation for a full-scale war with the North.
The drill is to cover politically and diplomatically sensitive scenarios including a civil war in the North in case of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's death and a failure of his heir Jong-un to seize control, and Chinese troops marching across the Apnok (or Yalu) River.
The decision to change the nature of the massive annual exercise means a revised assessment of military threats, government sources said Monday.
The previous "Key Resolve/Foal Eagle" drill followed an operational plan that envisioned the urgent dispatch of large U.S. troop reinforcements and equipment to Korea, carrying out counterattack operations up to an area north of Pyongyang, and bringing down the North Korean regime in case of an invasion of the South.
But this year's drill follows a contingency plan for sudden change in the North. It covers six scenarios.
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