S.Korea, US hold military drills as North’s Kim visits naval unit

South Korea and the US Monday began joint drills while North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a navy unit where he inspected a cruise missile test aboard a warship.

The 11-day annual Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise between South Korea and the US military “is based on an all-out war scenario … is aimed at bolstering their joint readiness posture amid heightened tensions from North Korea's missile tests and hardening rhetoric against the allies,” Seoul-based Yonhap News reported.

The exercises will include computer simulation-based command post exercises, concurrent field training, and Ulchi civil defense drills, it added.

South Korean Air Force also held air defense drills across 12 units spread nationwide.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang-based KCNA News reported that Kim Jong-un visited a Navy flotilla which is tasked to defend the east coast.

It did not mention the date of his visit.

Kim asked the naval unit to “set an example in preparations for combat and always take the lead in strengthening the navy.”

After boarding “Patrol Ship No. 661,” Kim inspected the weapons and preparations for combat while he “highly praised the ship for maintaining high mobility and mighty striking power and constant preparedness for combat to cope with the sudden situation.”

Later he also watched the seamen of the patrol ship “staging a drill of launching strategic cruise missiles.”

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