S Korea, US conduct largest joint drill

South Korean and US troops on Friday held their biggest single-day joint live-fire exercise to test responses to any North Korean attack, amid high tensions on the peninsula.

The drill at Pocheon near the North Korean border involved some 2,000 troops along with jet fighters, tanks, Apache attack helicopters, A-10 “tank-killer” aircraft, missiles and multiple rocket launchers, the defence ministry said.

The two allies are also due to launch a major three-day naval exercise in the tense Yellow Sea on Saturday, ahead of the 62nd anniversary on Monday of the outbreak of the Korean War.

On Thursday, the US, South Korea and Japan began a separate two-day drill off the southern South Korean island of Jeju, involving destroyers, supply ships and helicopters. North Korea denounced it as a “reckless provocation”.

Tensions are high after the North’s failed rocket launch in April, seen by the US and its allies as an attempted ballistic missile test.

Pyongyang has also threatened attacks on the South's government and conservative media for perceived insults to its regime. The first stage of the drill at Pocheon, 35 km from the border, aimed to practise a response to a shooting and shelling attacks on South Korean border outposts.

The second stage assumed an all-out attack by North Korean forces.

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