WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- The United States and South Korea will begin on Tuesday their annual joint military drill, which the U.S. said is routine and defense-oriented.
Tens of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops are expected to join the 10-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise, conducted annually by the Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command, according to the American Forces Press Service.
"Ulchi Freedom Guardian is designed to enhance the interoperability of the United States and Republic of Korea military forces while enhancing the combat readiness of the alliance," said Army Gen. James Thurman, Combined Forces Command commander.
The UFG has been an annual event since 1975. Some 28,500 U.S. troops have been stationed in South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice that left the two Koreas technically at war.
The military of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has called on the United States and South Korea to cancel the UFG exercise, the official KCNA news agency reported earlier this month.
The war games are part of the "hysteria for a war of aggression " against the DPRK and would be "all-out nuclear war maneuvers, the KCNA quoted the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People's Army (KPA) as saying in an open letter.