U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis recently announced a computer-simulated program called Ulchi Freedom Guardian will run through Aug. 31 as a training exercise for military personnel to fortify mutual defense efforts in South Korea.
"This … is an exercise to make certain that we're ready to defend South Korea," " Mattis said in a release.
Ulchi Freedom Guardian will involve approximately 17,500 U.S. service members who will join South Korean units for the exercise.
The program focuses on ensuring stability on the Korean Peninsula and is “calculated to not allow for miscalculation" in order to safeguard against potential miscommunications, Mattis said in the release.
Mattis said the exercise’s planned scope was not directly influenced by any recent North Korea activity; rather, it is part of an annual event in which several other nations also participate, including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
"These exercises … highlight the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between the two nations, help to ensure peace and security on the peninsula, and reaffirm U.S. commitment to the alliance," a defense official said in the release.