NZ troops join exercise as Korean tensions mount

New Zealand troops have joined a training exercise with American and South Korean soldiers in a show of strength against the North.

Sixty NZ Defence Force personnel are taking part in the 16th annual exercise Ssang Yong.

Gunners from the 16 Field Regiment are involved in exercises including mortar firing and a mock beach landing in Pohang on South Korea's east coast.

Australian Defence Force troops are also taking part.

It's the first time NZ troops are taking part in the military exercises which are happening against a backdrop of growing tension and missile tests in North Korea.

The South says 300,000 South Korean troops and at least 17,000 from the US are taking part in the drills which South Korea says are defensive and routine.

North Korea said yesterday that its military is ready to pre-emptively attack and "liberate" the South if it sees signs that American and South Korean troops involved in annual joint military drills are attempting to invade the North.

At the start of the drills last Monday, the North warned of an indiscriminate "pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice" on Washington and Seoul.

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