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South Korea, US launch landing drill amid tensions

SEOUL--Nearly 15,000 South Korean and U.S. troops kicked off a 12-day amphibious landing drill Thursday, the largest for two decades, a day after North Korea launched two mid-range ballistic missiles.

Code-named Ssang Yong (“Twin Dragons”), the exercise on the South's southeastern coast will last until April 7 and involve around 10,000 U.S. troops.

“The scale of this year's Ssang Yong is greater than any others in the past,” a U.S. military spokesman told AFP.

The U.S. forces will include 7,500 Marines belonging to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, based in Okinawa, Japan.

Yonhap news agency said 3,500 Marines and 1,000 Navy sailors would take part from South Korea.

It will be the largest joint marine drill of its kind since the annual Team Spirit exercises held between 1976 and 1993.

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