The U.S. military has teamed up with its Japanese counterpart at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan to carry out joint urban warfare and frontline rescue drills, amid continued threats against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Deemed the Orient Shield17 drills, some 1,200 soldiers in total are participating in the annual two-week exercise, according to PressTV.
While the U.S. soldiers were comprised of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the Japanese detail was part of the country's defense forces. The drills are scheduled to end on Sept. 25.
Coinciding with the drills, the U.S. has also carried out military flights over the Korean peninsula organized in conjunction with South Korea's military. The flyovers included two U.S. B-1B supersonic bombers as well as four F-35B stealth fighter jets.
While the war bombers took off from Guam, a Pacific island nation occupied by the United States since 1898, the fighter jets flew from a U.S. military base on Japanese soil, according to a South Korean Defense Ministry official. The source commented that South Korea had conducted a “mock bombing exercise over the sky of Korea,” along with its U.S. partner.
Tens of thousands of U.S. combat forces are based throughout Japan and South Korea. The drills come amid escalating tensions between the United States, and its Asian allies, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have promised to put “stronger pressure” on Pyongyang. Trump has repeatedly stated that a military option remains on the table and has promised to destroy the DPRK if it doesn't obey Washington's orders.
On the other hand, the DPRK has held steadfast to its military program in an attempt to ward off threats by Washington. However, Pyongyang has insisted that, in order for peace talks to occur, joint military drills conducted by the United States and South Korea must end.