NATIONAL

US denies performing ‘decapitation strike’ drill

By Choi Si-young
  • Published : Dec 24, 2019 - 14:27
  • Updated : Dec 24, 2019 - 19:41

The US Department of Defense on Monday dismissed local reports that a recent US-South Korea joint military exercise was a rehearsal for a “decapitation strike” against key North Korean figures.

The reports said the combat exercise, which took place in Gunsan, South Jeolla Province, from August to November this year, simulated a surgical strike to take down the communist regime’s key personnel in an apparent warning to Pyongyang, citing photographs and videos posted on the department’s website Dec. 16.

Photo of combat exercise released on DoD website (Yonhap)

“The claim that DOD conducted an exercise like this or had a video of any type like this on our digital platform is preposterous,” the department told Voice of America when asked why the department had posted the videos and deleted them shortly after.

It added, “Reporting like this is not only wrong, it’s irresponsible and flat-out dangerous,” without further elaboration.

At a press briefing Tuesday, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said Seoul is on the same page as Washington on the matter, indicating local media had misunderstood the nature of the joint exercise.

“The joint drills involve counterterrorism and rescue operation as far as we know,” spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told a press briefing. “The exact nature of what they are, we don’t disclose.”

Local media outlets reported that the joint drills involved special forces from both countries, including US F-16 fighter jets.

The photos the US department posted are still accessible via its online communication platform, which provides multimedia services to audiences around the world.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)