SEOUL, November 10. /TASS/. Annual military exercise called Hoguk that is to be accomplished by November 21, started in the Republic of Korea. This exercise is aimed at fostering country’s defensive capacity against possible DPRK attacks, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of national armed forces.
All branches of the armed forces including the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marine Corps will be involved in the 12-day maneuvers. “The war drill will focus on enhancing the military branches' joint combat capabilities to guard against North Korea's potential regional or all-out military provocations, the military said”. The exercise will partly be carried out together with the American military forces counting 28.5 thousand of soldiers stationed in South Korea.
The drills will be held at the south of the Korean Peninsula including border areas. It will focus on joint amphibious assaults, secret naval operations, breakthrough operations and the defense of the islands in the Yellow Sea.
For the first time since 1996 about 330,000 servicemen will take part in the drill. Hoguk used to involve from 60,000 to 80,000 military servicemen.
"As North Korea is believed to have carried out intensive military drills in recent months, we've decided to launch the largest-ever scale of the drills in response in order to boost our capabilities," said a JCS representative.
Recently Pyongyang criticized Seoul for the Hoguk drill, claiming that "Seoul is looking for a reason to unleash a war" and that the South Korean regime has become "more aggressive and provocative."
Hoguk replaced the Team Spirit exercise in 1996 and has focused on improving combat team-work among all service branches.
Since the end of the Korean war 1950-1953, the North and the South are still in a state of military conflict. The war ended in an armistice agreement.