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US, South Korea to Stage Another Military Exercise


The United States and South Korea will hold a massive joint military exercise this week aimed, at deterring aggression.

About 30,000 American troops and around 56,000 South Korean soldiers will take part in the 10-day annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian war games, which begin Monday and run through August 26.

The exercise comes a week after Seoul completed anti-submarine drills near a disputed west coast maritime border with North Korea that prompted Pyongyang to retaliate by firing a barrage of artillery shells in the same area.

Last month, the U.S. and South Korea held a joint navel exercise in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) after the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, which an investigation showed was caused by a North Korean torpedo.

Pyongyang has denied any responsibility for the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

Both North Korea and China have criticized the war games as raising tensions in the region.The United States and South Korea are set to stage their second joint military exercises in less than a month -- weeklong maneuvers that have drawn warnings from North Korea and criticism from China.

The naval and ground drills come just a week after the South completed submarine maneuvers near a disputed sea boundary. Those drills prompted the North to fire artillery shells in the same area.

Some 30,000 American troops and 56,000 South Korean soldiers will take part in the 10-day maneuvers (the Ulchi Freedom Guardian war games), which begin Monday and run through August 26.

The U.S. Defense Department earlier this month said some of the exercises would take place in the Yellow Sea, which separates China and the Korean peninsula. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington is set to take part.

Chinese Admiral Yang Yi warned last week that the maneuvers constitute what he called "a fresh provocation" to Beijing and the region.

North Korea, which routinely levels threats against the United States and South Korea, on Sunday called the maneuvers a "dangerous act" that could lead to a new war.

Last month, U.S. and South Korean sailors held joint naval exercises in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) after the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan. An investigation determined the warship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo.

Pyongyang has denied any responsibility for the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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