U.S.-Korean joint military drill announced during Antony's Seoul visit

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Seoul (South Korea), Sep 3 (ANI): South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae-young on Friday, after his meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony, announced the U.S.-South Korean joint military drill that would be held from September 5 to 9.

"This U.S. - South Korean joint military exercise will be held to prepare against various kinds of our enemy's naval provocations and will be a good opportunity to strengthen united anti-submarine capabilities and mutual operation capacity between two countries," said Korean Colonel Lee Boong-Woo.

South Korean military officials and honour guards greeted Antony at Seoul's Defence Ministry.

Antony discussed bilateral issues, including cooperation in the defence industry with his South Korean counterpart.

After the meeting, they signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) on defence cooperation between both countries.

The two countries upgraded their relations to a "strategic partnership" last January and both countries' foreign ministers discussed details on a wide range of cooperation projects, including politics, security and economy last June.

South Korea and India agreed to double their bilateral trade to $30 billion by 2014 via a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that took effect January 1.

The five-day naval training will fuel tensions with the North and anger regional power China even if this anti-submarine exercise will be of a lower scale than previous military drills that included a U.S. aircraft carrier.

Tensions have risen on the Korean peninsula since a North Korean submarine was suspected of torpedoing a South Korean ship, killing 46 sailors, which prompted joint U.S. and South Korea military drills.

North and South Korea are still technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce without a peace treaty. (ANI)

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