Saturday, February 05, 2011

S. Korea, US To Expand Anti-WMD Program In Joint Military Drills

South Korea and the US plan to expand a program that simulates removing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in this year's joint military drills to deter threats from North Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday, citing a military sources. "During the Key Resolve joint drill to be held in March, the two nations' forces will jointly conduct exercises to remove North Korea's nuclear weapons and WMDs," the source was quoted as saying. "Although this exercise first began in 2009, (the military) will strengthen the program this year." Forces of the two countries have annually carried out joint war games, with last year's 11-day Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercise involving some 18,000 American troops and about 20,000 South Korean soldiers.The move came after the North last November revealed its uranium enrichment facility, adding to international concerns about the communist nation's nuclear capabilities. Uranium, if highly enriched, can be used to make weapons, providing Pyongyang with a second way of building atomic bombs after its existing plutonium-based program. About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea, which is technically still at war with the South as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.