USA scales back deployment to Korea for drills

The exercise will run through August 31, and is "designed to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula", according to a DOD statement. About 17,500 US service members will participate, with about 3,000 coming from installations outside South Korea, the officials said.

USA and South Korean forces on Monday will start annual joint military exercises that assume potential armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has termed the decision to hold the exercise a "catastrophe".

The exercises known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian came under verbal attack from North Korea this week, when Pyongyang warned of a "second Korean War" should Seoul and Washington go ahead with the drills. They use realistic combat scenarios to simulate chains of command in both forces.

Twenty-eight thousand USA troops are still stationed in South Korea.

29 July 2017 North Korea launched an Intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14.

Harris' trip came after Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, had a two-day visit to South Korea earlier this week. Hours later, North Korea responded with media reports of plans to send missiles toward Guam, a US territory and island in the Western Pacific.

Provocative language has been in the air between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the US, with US President Donald Trump trading threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

About 50,000 South Korean forces will be involved as well as 17,500 of their USA counterparts.

The UFG exercise will be the first large-scale drill since North Korea conducted two successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month and unveiled a plan this month to lob missiles near the US territory of Guam.