North Korea hits out at Aust over war games

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"The current situation on the Korean peninsula is highly sensitive and fragile, which requires the directly concerned parties including South Korea and U.S. to make joint efforts to ease the tensions", Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The exercise involves 17,500 American troops and 50,000 South Korean soldiers, according to the US military command in South Korea and Seoul's Defence Ministry.

The Ulchi-Freedom Guardian will take place until August 31st, and involve computer-based drills created to simulate a conflict scenario with a nuclear-armed North Korea.

It's an annual joint drill between American and South Korean forces, but this year, it comes following a bitter back-and-forth between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump.

"North Korea knows this a fully defensive, for whatever they may say for public consumption, they know this is a defensive exercise".

Mattis said that the number of troops is by design to achieve the exercise's objectives and that this year's drill is focused on command post operations.

Moon made the remark during a Cabinet meeting as the allies kicked off the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise that the communist nation has long denounced as a rehearsal for an invasion of the northern country. This exercise involves a lot of service members, some 17,000 from the USA military, almost 50,000 from the South Korean military. They were not deployed in the exercises past year.

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But he did say that he sees the closures unfair because he doesn't "want violence " but a "more peaceful society instead". Cantwell also admitted to Vice to being violent during the weekend protests but claimed it was in self-defence.

The U.S. has reduced the number of its participating service members to 17,500 from 25,000, according to the Pentagon.

"The word that came out past year was decapitation because we were being threatened by North Korea having done nuclear tests and missiles, so we took those two events very seriously", said the Asan Institute's Choi.

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"As long as the threat from North Korea exists, we need to maintain a high state of readiness to respond to that threat", Dunford told reporters in Beijing last week. Days after the drills, the North carried out its fifth and biggest nuclear test to date.

But South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported the allies were mulling scrapping an initial plan to bring in two aircraft carriers to the peninsula to take part in the drill.

"If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so". Is that seen as a likely thing at all, right now?

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