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SEOUL — Combined Forces Command officials announced that the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise will take place Aug. 17-27.

This year’s training will mark the second time in the exercise’s 35-year history that the South Korean military will take the lead role, while the U.S. military takes a supporting role, a U.S. Forces Korea news release said.

The United States in 2012 is to hand wartime operational control of forces on the peninsula to South Korea’s military commanders.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian uses computer-simulated scenarios to test the abilities of both South Korea and the United States to respond to contingencies on the peninsula.

The United Nations Command has informed North Korean military officials about the exercise and assured them it is defensive in nature, the release said.

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