EFESeoul

South Korea and the United States on Friday concluded this year's Foal Eagle joint military maneuvers.

This brings to an end the annual event, which has elevated tensions with North Korea over recent months.

Since March 2, some 200,000 South Korean and 3,700 U.S. troops have participated in the exercises, a spokesperson from South Korea's ministry of defense in Seoul told Efe.

In these land, sea and air maneuvers, simulated reconnaissance and infiltration operations and live fire exercises were carried out using warships, airplanes, helicopters and armored vehicles.

For its first few weeks, Foal Eagle overlapped with Key Resolve, another large-scale U.S.-South Korean exercise with simulated combat operations integrating 10,000 South Korean and 8,600 U.S. troops.

Seoul and Washington maintain the objective of the maneuvers is to improve interoperability and combat capabilities between their allied naval forces, against perceived threats from North Korea.

Kim Jong-un's regime usually responds to these joint military exercises, which it considers "invasion drills," with threats and missile launches.

In 2013, North Korea responded to the maneuvers with an unusually strong series of threats which took the countries to the brink of war.

The U.S. is committed to defend the South against North Korea, and has maintained around 28,500 troops there since the Korean War (1950-53) divided the peninsula in two.