The U.S. Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group, better known as the SEAL Team 6, will arrive in South Korea for joint military drills and take part in an exercise simulating a precision North Korean incurion and “the removal of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un”, according to the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.
The U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six will join the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises between the two allies for the first time, along with the Army’s Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets.
The counterterrorism unit is best known for its removal of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011, known as Operation Neptune Spear. It will be the team’s first time participating in the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises, which will run through late April.
The Japan Times reported that the SEAL Team 6 unit boarded the USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, last Friday and are currently training in South Korean waters.
As Korea JoongAng Daily adds, also set to touch down in South Korea is Delta Force, a special mission unit of the U.S. Army whose main tasks include hostage rescue and counterterrorism, said the Defense Ministry. Together with SEAL Team 6, they will practice removing Kim Jong-un and destruction of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction.
“It will send a very strong message to North Korea, which is constantly carrying out military provocations,” a ministry official said.
F-35 stealth fighters will also fly from U.S. Navy bases in Japan this month and carry out strike simulations on key North Korean facilities.
The beefing up of U.S. special operation forces in the drills comes after North Korean leader Kim said in a New Year’s speech that the country was in the “final stage” of test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile, the first of its kind, and pushed through two separate missile tests earlier this year, the latest on March 6. North Korea claimed through its state-run media that the most recent drill was aimed at striking “the bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces in Japan.”
Washington and Seoul stress that the annual military drills are purely defensive, although Pyongyang sees them as a rehearsal for an invasion.