Despite dire warnings from Pyongyang, the United States and South Korea are holding their largest joint war games in five years. North Korea’s reactions to this are unpredictable. Will the whole thing escalate into a veritable war?
It seems that Seoul and Washington are not taking the urgent warnings from Pyongyang seriously. Because the North Korean leadership recently announced (as Report24 has already reported) that military exercises by the two countries on the border will be regarded as a “declaration of war” and will be responded to with “unprecedentedly sustainable and strong countermeasures”.
However, South Korea and the United States militaries said in a joint press conference that they would hold the Freedom Shield military exercise from March 13-23. This is computer-simulated command post training to strengthen defense and reaction skills. In parallel, separate large-scale joint field exercises called “Warrior Shield FTX” are taking place. The two countries’ largest joint military exercise in five years, which also includes a combined amphibious exercise.
The Korean Herald reports that Washington will send an aircraft carrier and other strategic assets to the region for the war games. The Pentagon is also sending armed MQ-9 Reaper drones to the Korean Peninsula for the first time. This should represent a clear provocation for the North Korean leadership. It is therefore to be expected that Pyongyang will react accordingly and, under certain circumstances, carry out weapon tests again. In the worst case, however, there could be a direct military confrontation.
In a press release from North Korea’s foreign ministry on Saturday, Pyongyang warned, “The Korean peninsula is turning into the world’s largest powder keg and a war training ground because of a military expansion plan being led by the United States and its supporters.” On Sunday, North Korea called on the United Nations to take action against US military provocations. “The United Nations and the international community must urge the US and South Korea to immediately end their provocative statements and joint military exercises,” the State Department said in a statement, adding that tensions on the Korean peninsula were at an “extremely high level.” dangerous level”.
Pyongyang could be gambling high, especially as the United States and allied NATO countries have significantly depleted their stockpiles of weapons and ammunition in recent months thanks to continued shipments to Ukraine. But an attack on US forces on the ground would probably result in a massive counterattack. The question arises as to whether Washington actually wants to open an East Asia front. Such an escalation could encourage Beijing to take back Taiwan. Not to mention that Iran could then (as a result of overstretching the US military) focus on attacks on Israel.
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