The Korea Herald


US denies ‘decapitation strike’ drill

By Choi Si-young

Published : Dec. 24, 2019 - 14:27

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US, South Korean and North Korean flags (from left to right). (123rf) US, South Korean and North Korean flags (from left to right). (123rf)
The US Department of Defense on Monday dismissed local reports that a recent US-South Korea joint military exercise was a rehearsal for a “decapitation strike” against key North Korean figures.

The reports said the combat exercise, which took place in Gunsan, South Jeolla Province, from August to November this year, simulated a surgical strike to take down Pyongyang's key commanders in an apparent warning, citing photographs and videos posted on the department’s website on Dec. 16.

“The claim that DOD conducted an exercise like this or had a video of any type like this on our digital platform is preposterous,” the department told Voice of America. It deleted videos shortly after posting them. “Reporting like this is not only wrong, it’s irresponsible and flat-out dangerous,” it added, without elaborating.

Seoul’s Defense Ministry said the South Korean and the US government are on the same page on the matter, noting local media had misunderstood the nature of the joint exercise. “The joint drills involve counterterrorism and rescue operation as far as we know,” spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo said Tuesday.

“The exact nature of what they are, we don’t disclose.”

Local media outlets reported that the joint drills involved special forces from both countries, including US F-16 fighter jets. The photos the Department of Defense posted are still accessible via its online communication platform, which provides multimedia services to audiences around the world.

By Choi Si-young (