SEOUL, South Korea — U.S. and South Korean troops kicked off their annual drills Monday that come after President Donald Trump and North Korea exchanged warlike rhetoric in the wake of the North’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.
The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills are largely computer-simulated war games held every summer and have drawn furious responses from North Korea, which views them as an invasion rehearsal. Pyongyang’s state media on Sunday called this year’s drills a “reckless” move that could trigger the “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”
Despite the threat, U.S. and South Korean militaries launched this year’s 11-day training on Monday morning as scheduled. The exercise involves 17,500 American troops and 50,000 South Korean soldiers, according to the U.S. military command in South Korea and Seoul’s Defense Ministry.
No field training like live-fire exercises or tank maneuvering is involved in the Ulchi drills, in which alliance