US troops in South Korea ‘prepared for anything’

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In the hills of South Korea, near the northern border, US soldiers are training for war.

Sky News was given special access to film both the joint spring exercises and regular training ahead of this week’s historic summit.

We watched as troops on a nine month rotation from their US bases did tank drills to familiarise themselves with the terrain.

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US troops are doing tank drills in South Korea

Lieutenant Corporal Bill Coryell said they must be prepared for anything.

“The motto of the second infantry division is, we fight tonight, which means we’re always ready to go,” he said.

:: Korea at war – why they are divided



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2:57

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In the past, North Korea has frequently complained about the presence of the 28,500 American personnel on the peninsula, suggesting they are a threat to security.

:: No panic in Singapore as summit approaches

However, both US president Donald Trump and his defence secretary James Mattis have said their withdrawal will not be up for discussion during the Singapore summit.

Despite these assurances, conservative analysts in Seoul believe that any peace deal would eventually grant Pyongyang its wish, potentially leaving South Korea exposed.

Professor Taewoo Kim from Konyang University US troops in South Korea 'prepared for anything' US troops in South Korea ‘prepared for anything’ skynews taewoo konyang 4332199
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Professor Taewoo Kim is worried South Korea could be left exposed

Professor Taewoo Kim from Konyang University said: “Kim Jong Un doesn’t need to demand the removal of troops because once they sign a peace treaty with the US the demand will arise naturally in South Korean people.”

North Korea has the fourth largest military in the world, with around 1.1 million soldiers in the infantry alone.



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2:16

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US troops have to train in chemical weapons suits, knowing a real battle could involve some of the deadliest weapons on earth.

:: Your guide to the Trump-Kim summit

As excitement builds ahead of the Singapore summit, it is business as usual on the US base.

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Colonel Scott Taylor of the US 8th Army is hoping for peace

Colonel Scott Taylor of the 8th Army said: “Although peace hopefully is breaking out here on the peninsula, the reality is that we have to be prepared should it reverse and so we’re not going to stop preparing to deter that war.

“Frankly, the military instrument of national power provides the decision space for the diplomacy to succeed.

“We are very hopeful.”

US troops based in South Korea US troops in South Korea 'prepared for anything' US troops in South Korea ‘prepared for anything’ skynews american army korea 4332198
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There are 28,500 US personnel on the Korean Peninsula

:: Trump and Kim body language

The presence of American forces on the peninsula is a stumbling block on the path to peace.

Joint drills with South Korea enraged Kim Jong Un who threatened to cancel his meeting with Mr Trump.

The South Korean military recently said Seoul and Washington wouldn’t publicise future joint military drills but denied it would scale down or cancel future exercises.



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