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South Korea to join in Ulchi Focus Lens exercise

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 20, 2005

SEOUL — The U.S. Combined Forces Command and South Korea will hold the 31st annual Ulchi Focus Lens command post exercise from Monday to Sept. 2, according to a U.S. Forces Korea news release.

UFL 2005 is a computer-simulated exercise designed “to evaluate and improve combined and joint coordination, procedures, plans and systems for conducting operations critical to the defense of the peninsula,” according to the release.

The exercise, called the world’s largest computer-driven war simulation, is designed to improve deterrent capabilities, U.S. officials have said.

Last week, North Korea criticized the exercise as “large-scale saber rattling” that shows U.S. intentions to “wind up its preparations for a pre-emptive attack on [North Korea] and drive the situation on the peninsula to an extreme pitch of tension.”

An unidentified North Korean military spokesman said his country was “fully ready to respond to a war in kind any time,” according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

U.S. officials have said the exercise is not a threat to North Korea.

The exercise is named after Ulchi Munduk, a Korean general, according to Globalsecurity.org, a nongovernmental military information Web site. Ulchi was commander in chief of the army of Goguryo, the former name for Korea. He is credited with outsmarting attacking Chinese forces around 612 A.D., making him one of Korea’s most famous military officers.