South Korea and the USA want to train their armed forces together for eleven days. It is the biggest summer maneuver in five years. The exercises are already underway. But in Seoul, a sharp reaction from North Korea is feared.
Under the name "Ulchi Freedom Shield", training with computer simulations, joint field exercises and a large civil defense exercise by South Korea are to be combined by September 1st. A sharp reaction from North Korea to the eleven-day maneuver was feared in Seoul. The leadership of the largely isolated country regularly accuses the US of maneuvering South Korea to prepare for an attack. Washington and Seoul deny this, emphasizing the drills were intended to improve defense capabilities.
Tensions in the region have escalated again this year following a series of tests by North Korea of nuclear-capable missiles. In recent years, the United States and South Korea had reduced the scope of several exercises or canceled them entirely for diplomatic reasons. When the US canceled the summer exercises in South Korea in 2018, it wanted to create greater opportunities for negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program. However, since the failed summit between the USA and North Korea in Vietnam in February 2019, these have not made any progress.