South Korea and United States Marines Hold Drills Near North Korean Border

D-Bo , Feb. 10, 2015, 9:19 a.m.

South Korean and U.S. Marines held a joint maritime infiltration drill near the South's border island on Tuesday as part of efforts to boost joint combat readiness and interoperability.  Some 200 South Korean Marines and some 20 American service personnel stationed in Okinawa, Japan, participated in the exercise in waters off Ganghwa Island in the Yellow Sea, where they sneaked into virtual camps of enemies, attacked targets and escaped from the sites, according to the Marine Corps.

It is the first time that the two Marines carried out the drill in the region adjacent to the communist North.  Tuesday's infiltration exercise is part of the ongoing Korea Marine Exercise Program (KMEP), which is a regularly scheduled, combined training exercise in order to enhance combat readiness and interoperability between the two countries' Marine forces.

After staging joint field maneuvers and tactical trainings in South Korea's alpine city of Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, in January, the two sides moved to the western border areas to stage the comprehensive strategy drill until Friday.

"As the Ganghwa Island region is notorious for strong underwater currents and low visibility, the successful drill here would help bolster our capabilities and to boost pride," said Capt. Baek Sang-min who participated in the drill.

Meanwhile, the Marine corps of the two countries plan to conduct their annual landing drill, named Ssangyong, next month in South Korea's southern port city of Pohang, according to the officials, adding some 1,000 U.S. marines and 3,000 South Koreans are to take part in the exercise.

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