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Korean troops go it alone in an amphibious drill

Oct 27,2006

Troops hit the beach in an amphibious landing drill yesterday near Pohang, North Gyeongsang province. Military officials said the first solo exercise on this scale involved 8,000 soldiers and was part of preparations for Seoul’s reacquisition of wartime military control of its troops. By Kim Tae-sung

POHANG, North Gyeongsang - The South Korean military conducted its first large amphibious solo exercise yesterday, a part of its preparations for Seoul’s reacquisition of wartime military control of its troops.
The Defense Ministry said the exercise involved about 8,000 troops, 20 naval ships and 40 helicopters. The scenario for the exercise was a landing and support operation to establish a beachhead. One civilian ship, used as a troop transport, was also used to study the possibility of using such ships in military operations.
The single-division drill was viewed by several dozen reporters and senior officers from all branches of the Korean military.
The drill was another in a series of reactions by Seoul to recent saber-rattling by North Korea, in addition to showing its ability to conduct wartime operations without U.S. military support. Such solo exercises in the past have involved only battalion-size units, roughly 1,000 men.
In recent weeks, Seoul has also announced successful tests of two new types of cruise missiles, the first with a range of 500 kilometers (300 miles) and the next with double that range. The Agency for Defense Development has also said it is working on a cruise missile with a range of 1,500 kilometers.
Seoul and Washington have agreed that the United States military contingent in Korea will cede its primary responsibility for defending against a North Korean attack to Seoul, with U.S. troops taking a support role. The date for the handover has not been decided, but will be sometime between late 2009 and 2012.


by Kim Sung-tak


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