April 27, 2017 10:52
The South Korean military put on a massive display of firepower on Wednesday by mobilizing some 2,000 troops and 250 tanks, self-propelled howitzers and fighter jets at a training range in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province.
A day earlier North Korea also put on a big show of force at an air base in Wonsan, Kangwon Province to mark the 85th anniversary of its Army as leader Kim Jong-un looked on.
The South Korean drill is usually staged only once in the five-year term of any president because it is so expensive and requires painstaking rehearsal of fighter jets and attack helicopters, tanks and armored personnel carriers.
But Wednesday's display came only a year and eight months after the last one and was clearly meant as a warning amid the mounting nuclear and missile threats from the North.
Acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn, Defense Minister Han Min-koo, and other military leaders watched Wednesday's drill.
It was the first outing for the Army's new AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters and new home-grown Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers with a range of 80 km.
In North Korea, some 300 long-range artillery guns were mobilized for Tuesday's drill as well as 170 mm self-propelled guns and 240 mm multiple rocket launchers.
The North has about 1,300 long-range artillery pieces, of which some 340 are a direct threat to Seoul. The long-range guns are usually deployed in caves in various secret locations but were all brought to Wonsan for the exercise.
The North also practiced attacking a U.S. aircraft carrier with SU-25 air-to-ground attack aircraft, MIG-23 fighters, and Romeo-class submarines, using a desert island as a target.
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