South Korea is participating in several military exercises, some overlapping and involving other countries including the United States and Japan. U.S. and Japanese naval forces have joined their counterparts from South Korea for a two-day exercise in international waters south of Jeju island.
North Korea’s ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun says the three-nation drill threatens to bring a “new cloud of war” to Northeast Asia.
The U.S. and South Korean navies are to continue with what is described as a “routine carrier operation” in the West Sea, west of the Korean Peninsula, from June 19 to June 21. The USS George Washington carrier striker group is joining both exercises.
On land, South Korean and American soldiers are to conduct one of their biggest ever joint single-day drills on June 21. It will involve 2,000 troops, fighter jets and other aircraft, including attack helicopters, as well as tanks and rocket launchers firing thousands of rounds. It is to take place at Pocheon, about 60 km south of the demilitarized zone.
North Korea has lashed out, with typical rhetoric, characterizing this as “clamor for the invasion of the North that makes the situation worse.”
South Korean and U.S. Army soldiers cheer after a live fire drill during the annual Foal Eagle maneuvers near Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, on March 15, 2012.