August 16, 2011 11:06
South Korea kicked off its annual joint military exercise with the United States on Tuesday, dubbed the "Ulchi Freedom Guardian."
Some 56,000 South Korean soldiers and around 30,000 American personnel are participating in the exercise through Aug. 26. Seoul says it is aimed at improving and enhancing capabilities to counter North Korea's provocations, as well as part of the preparations for the transfer of wartime operational control of South Korean forces, which is scheduled for 2015.
The UN Command in Korea notified North Korea last month of the timing and objectives of the exercise.
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