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Seoul, Washington begin joint military drill

Posted August. 23, 2022 07:43,   

Updated August. 23, 2022 07:43


South Korea and the United States began their joint military drill Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) on Monday, and their intelligence authorities are eyeing on whether North Korea will carry out its provocation scenario to mark its Day of Foundation of the Republic (Sept. 9) or Party Foundation Day (Oct. 10).

This forecasts come from the North's recent action to fire cruise missile last Wednesday, and it might take another step to elevate its power-to-power provocations toward South Korea and the U.S. Experts weigh in the possibility that the communist regime may begin its actions by launching short range ballistic missile, a 'North Korean version of Iskandar (KN-23)', as a way to blame the UFS exercise, which will be conducted until Sept. 1. In addition, the experts say they cannot rule out the possibility that it may initially fire Hwaseong type intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) and intercontinental ballistic missile toward areas covering Guam base, which has strategic bomber, and the main land U.S. and maximize international tension by conducting its seventh nuclear test on either of their national anniversary. With such actions, the North is aiming to show off to the South and U.S. for their maximal nuclear forces it accumulated under the regime of Kim Jung Un, experts analyzed.

On the first day of UFS drill, EP-3E Aries, a multi-intelligence reconnaissance aircraft of U.S. navy, flied over the South's capital region for an extended amount of time to monitor North Korea's activities. One of the key missions of Aries is to detect electronic signal generated after the launch of missiles. The navy's aircraft is believed to have a closer look of any sign of provocations from the missile bases across the North Korea, according to a source from the military.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com