Soldiers must be prepared to defend the country from an attack from North Korea
Marines from South Korea and the US took part in the tough winter military training exercise in temperatures of below 20 degrees celsius today.
But alongside marksmanship and combat fighting skills, the training drills also had a bizarre – and shirtless – twist.
Every year, members of South Korea's Army Special Warfare Command (SWC) must participate in winter warfare training in the mountains of Pyeongchang, east of Seoul.
The 3,390-acre training complex is considered essential for military exercises to maintain a state of readiness amid high tensions between the Koreas.
The men stripped off despite the freezing temperatures
The temperature can fall as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit
Conditions can drop to as low as minus five degrees, with snow metres deep.
But despite the frosty weather, soldiers are expected to take part in shirtless long distance runs and one-on-one combat sessions.
Fighting off the cold, soldiers have been snapped doing gymnastics, swimming in icy water and hurling snow at their bare chests as part of the gruelling nine days of challenges.
Soldiers must be expert marksmen to be part of the marines
America and South Korea prepare to DEFEND against North Korea
Tue, January 24, 2017
U.S. and South Korean marines participate in the endurance exercise in temperature below minus 20 degrees celsius under a scenario to defend the country from any possible attacks from North Korea.
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The idea is that the freezing conditions will help acclimate soldiers to any intense conditions they could find themselves in.
And the seemingly bizarre training is said to install a sense of mental and physical strength in the marines, who must achieve a black belt in Tae Kwon Do to even be part of the SWC.
Team members must also excel in marksmanship, with some of the winter training program featuring tactical skiing with rifles and treks through frozen lakes as soldiers keep their eyes on the targets.
Tactical skiing is just one of the exercises being carried
It is believed the unbelievable scenarios have been concocted so soldiers will be prepared to defence the country from any possible attack from North Korea.
The US has about 28,500 service members in South Korea, which technically remains in a state of war with the North after the 1950 to 1953 conflict ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.
US troops also engaged in the dramatic drills, stripping down to their bare chests not to be outdone by the south Korean soldiers.
The idea is that the freezing conditions will help acclimate soldiers
South Korea technically remains in a state of war with the North
The shocking images come just a day after it was revealed North Korea has continued developing nuclear capabilities at “unprecedented pace”.
Reports claim Pyongyang was readying a test of an upgraded intercontinental ballistic missile prototype.
Now Acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn demanded the deployment of a US anti-missile defence system is not delayed any further amid the growing tensions.
He said: "Its nuclear and missile capabilities are developing at an unprecedented pace. They are a real and obvious threat. They are also miniaturising nuclear weapons."