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Reserve forces to conduct front-line exercises

Members of the nation’s Reserve Forces will be deployed to front-line areas for the first time during joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises later this year, officials said Sunday.

“Two battalions of the Reserve Forces will be deployed close to the border with North Korea while participating in two South Korea-U.S. joint military drills ― the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercise in March and the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in August,” said a ranking official at the Defense Ministry.

“The two will be selected from among the ‘precision supplementary battalions’ of the Reserve Forces, which are sent to the frontal areas in times of war,” said the official.

The military established 30 Reserve Forces battalions last year and plans to create nine more this year.

In South Korea, soldiers who complete their mandatory military service for nearly two years are automatically transferred to the Reserve Forces and must serve first four years as mobilization reserve and then the next four years as homeland reserve.

“The front-line deployment exercise for the reserve forces is related to the military’s efforts to upgrade its combat readiness in the face of growing threats from North Korea,” said the ministry official. 

(Yonhap News)