The Exercise Teak Knife was conducted at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, on Sept. 13, which provided opportunities for US special tactics airmen “to practice skillsets used in special operations across the Indo-Pacific,” the US Special Operations Command Korea said in its recent Facebook post.
The program included “a free fall insert, C-130J tactical landing, and fast rope insertions from three MH-60 Seahawks,” and many garrison units and US Navy members also took part in the exercise, which “maximized unit and individual readiness,” it added.
The US military has carried out the exercise regularly since the 1990s, often together with South Korean troops, but it is unusual for it to make the matter public. The exercise involves simulated attacks on key facilities in North Korea, such as its missile and nuclear installations, according to the officials.
The last time the US military announced the details of the exercise was 2017. Peace efforts involving North Korea gathered pace in 2018, when the US-North Korea summit was held for the first time ever.
Amid stalled denuclearization talks with the US, North Korea has been gradually heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula in recent months. In protest over the regular summertime exercise between South Korea and the US, Pyongyang last month warned of “a serious security crisis,” and test-fired missiles earlier this month for the first time in nearly six months.
The North has also shown signs of restarting a plutonium-producing reactor and expanding uranium enrichment facilities at its mainstay Yongbyon nuclear complex. Earlier this week, Rafael Grossi, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said North Korea’s nuclear program “goes full steam.” (Yonhap)Internet Explorer Channel Network