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S. Korea, US plan preparatory military drills amid concern over Pyongyang's provocation

TOKYO, Aug 16 (KUNA) -- South Korean and US troops plan to hold preliminary drills this week in advance of their combined training amid keen attention to the possibility of North Korea taking a provocative act in response, Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday, citing Seoul's military.
The allies are scheduled to kick off the four-day exercise Tuesday, focused on crisis management, in the run-up to the Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise set to run from next Monday through Sept 1.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stressed that the regular practice is defense oriented in nature as it is aimed at strengthening the allies' joint combat readiness.
It is also to "ensure the condition for the stable push for the transition of wartime operational control through the assessment of the full operational capability" under an agreed-upon plan for conditions-based Washington-to-Seoul operational control transfer, it added.
This year, especially, the allies plan to conduct a set of field training including firing drills, the report said. (end) mk.aa