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Joint military drills important for security on Korean Peninsula: Pentagon

Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, press secretary for the US Department of Defense, is seen answering questions during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Wednesday in this image captured from the department's website. (US Department of Defense)
Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, press secretary for the US Department of Defense, is seen answering questions during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Wednesday in this image captured from the department's website. (US Department of Defense)

WASHINGTON-- Joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States are important for maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, a Pentagon spokesperson said Wednesday.

South Korea and the US are currently conducting a regular joint exercise, called Ulchi Freedom Shield, which started last Monday.

"What I would tell you is that these exercises do remain important, in terms of ensuring that our militaries can closely work together and be prepared to fight and defend the Republic of Korea (ROK) and our partners and allies in the region should they need to," Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a press briefing, referring to South Korea by its official name.

North Korea frequently criticizes the joint military drills of South Korea and the US, while also using them as a pretext for its military provocations, which have included more than 30 ballistic missiles fired this year.

Seoul and Washington staged a live-fire exercise on Wednesday (Seoul time), marking the first of its kind to be held by the US 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-US Combined Division since the unit was formed in 2015.

The Pentagon press secretary said the ongoing exercise was a "11-day computer-simulated, defense-oriented training event," when asked about the live-fire exercise.

He added the exercise is "really designed to enhance ROK and US combined defense posture, help maintain readiness, and as I mentioned before, strengthen the security and the stability on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia." (Yonhap)

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