April 24, 2017 12:15
The U.S. Forces Korea will practice evacuating American civilians from Korea in June. The drill comes amid growing rumblings from Washington of a possible preemptive strike on North Korea's nuclear or missile facilities.
But the USFK carries out the drill, awkwardly dubbed "Courageous Channel," as a matter of routine twice a year and has deliberately postponed it by a month to avoid giving an impression of urgency, according to a military source here.
In May 2010, right after the North sank the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, the U.S. canceled the drill to allay fears of impending war.
The purpose of the drill is to evacuate American non-combatants in an emergency. They are supposed to gather at 18 evacuation shelters nationwide, including the U.S. military garrison Yongsan in Seoul, and be taken to Japan by air or ship.
A military spokesman here said, "They don't practice the entire evacuation process each time. They sometimes only practice gathering at assembly points."
An estimated 200,000 American civilians live in South Korea, mostly the families of service personnel, who are the first priority in an emergency. Next on the list are American expats or tourists and then their Korean families.
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