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S. Korea, U.S. Conduct Joint Special Operations Drills Amid N.K. Threats

SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Yonhap) — South Korea and the United States have staged a joint special operations exercise to enhance interoperability, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Tuesday, amid heightened tensions in the wake of Pyongyang’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

The combined exercise kicked off Monday at various training grounds, including the Army’s Special Warfare School in the Gyeonggi Province city of Gwangju, 33 kilometers southeast of Seoul, as the North fired what it claimed to be a Hwasong-18 solid-fuel ICBM the same day.

The drills, joined by troops from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, will focus on sharing special operations combat techniques, such as room clearing tactics, according to the JCS.

“Through such training, South Korea-U.S. special operations units will acquire overwhelming capabilities and posture to end operations in a victory, no matter the mission assigned,” it said.

After Monday’s ICBM launch, Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said in a local media interview that special operations drills aimed at eliminating the North Korean leadership, known as the “decapitation” operation exercise, could take place as a warning against the North’s provocations.

A JCS official, however, said this week’s exercise is unrelated to the so-called decapitation exercise.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Forces Korea on Monday unveiled the allies recently staged a two-week-long exercise, involving U.S. Army Special Forces Green Berets, a U.S. Navy SEAL team and South Korean troops from the Army’s Special Warfare Command.

Source : YonhapNewsAgency