Northern Viper: US and Japanese troops flex their muscles in live-fire military drills amid standoff with North Korea

Monday, August 14, 2017
By Paul Martin

American Marines are taking place in 18 days of live-fire exercises with Japanese on the island of Hokkaido
Northern Viper drills involve 3,500 troops taking part in rocket artillery exercises and tank maneuvers
Show of might, which sceduled ahead of time, comes amid hightened tensions between North Korea and US

14 August 2017

American Marines and their Japanese counterparts have staged a joint show of strength with live-fire military drills on the island of Hokkaido.

A combined total of 3,500 soldiers are taking part in 18 days of live-fire military drills code-named Northern Viper which began last week.

On Monday Marines and Japan’s Self Defense Force were pictured firing mortars, maneuvering tanks and using armored personnel carriers.

While the drills are a regular scheduled event, they come as a welcome display of unity between allied nations amid heightened regional tensions with North Korea.

South Korean and U.S. troops are also gearing up for an annual joint drill from August 21, called the Ulchi Freedom Guardian, in which up to 30,000 U.S. troops will take part.

South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and his U.S. counterpart H.R. McMaster spoke on the phone for 40 minutes early on Friday, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House in Seoul said.

The two discussed responses to North Korean provocations and the security situation on the Korean peninsula, he said.

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