South Korea, US begin military exercises amid protests

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South Korea, US begin military exercises amid protests

South Korea and the United States began their joint springtime military exercises Monday, the South Korean military said, amid strong protests from North Korea.

The nine-day exercises will not involve field drills, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The training will allow the combined capabilities of the South Korean and US troops to be strengthened and the allies combined defense posture will be strengthened, the JCS said in a statement.

North Korea harshly criticized the exercises on its state-owned propaganda website Uriminzokkiri on Sunday, saying that Invaders and provocateurs must pay for their actions.

The country fired a new type of missile that reached an altitude of about 25 kilometers and flew about 110 km, South Korea s JCS said on Sunday.

Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korean affairs, arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a five-day trip and is expected to meet with his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk later in the day.

Concerns are growing about more North Korean provocations around the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army on April 25.