The US-South Korea military drill has begun even though the North has been furious over the drill and asked the U.S. to stop provoking the North.
The drill has been condemned by the North Korea as pouring “gasoline on the fire”. For its part, the North has been pouring rhetoric against the US and South Korea.
The North Korean media Rodong Sinmun has criticized the U.S. amid the military drill in a threatening language. The US-South Korea’s “reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war,” said the Rodong Sinmun.
The report boasted about the North’s capacity to attack the mainland U.S. and threatened that the ‘merciless attack’ North can wage on the U.S. cannot be dodged by the U.S.
“The Trump group’s declaration of the reckless nuclear war exercises against the DPRK … is a reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war,” said the Rodong Sinmun.
The U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis said, “This right now is an exercise to make certain that we’re ready to defend South Korea and our allies over there.” He said, adding that “because of the specific circumstance, we want it to be a command post-heavy, command post-exercise.”
Announcing the exercise a U.S. defense official said in the statement, “These exercises also highlight the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between the two nations, help to ensure peace and security on the peninsula, and reaffirm U.S. commitment to the alliance.”
“The exercise is defensive in nature, Mattis said, noting that joint exercises have been going on for decades. The exercise operates transparently and is carefully planned out to prevent any misinterpretation on what is occurring,” The U.S. Defense Department reported.
The North Korean regime regards this exercise as preparation for invasion. The Chinese and Russian counterparts urged the U.S. to halt the drill in exchange for a freeze on North Korean missile tests.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of staff Joseph Dunford, however, declined any such possibility because the current military drill wasn’t on the ‘table as part of the negotiation at any level.”
The military exercise is supposed to continue from 21 August to 31 August. The U.S. Defense Department said, “Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) is the computer-simulated defensive exercise designed to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula. There will be approximately 17,500 total U.S. service members participating, with approximately 3,000 coming from off-peninsula. U.S. forces will join ROK military forces from major ROK units representing all services, as well as ROK government participants.”