North Korea’s triple nemesis–the US, South Korea, and Japan–opened another front in their psychological operations against North Korea. The DPRK quickly labelled the naval and land exercises a ‘reckless provocation’.
Joint naval operations are taking placing place off of South Korea’s southernmost island of Jeju in the Yellow Sea, including the US nuclear powered aircraft carrier George Washington.
[Jeju island has been the scene of popular protest: Seoul under the Status of Forces agreement is constructing a deep water port for mainly US military vessels like the George Washington. Berthing such ships has aroused protests from China and North Korea. Japan, too, is uneasy about this port since Tokyo views it as a dagger pointed at the heart of its claims to disputed uninhabitable islands which South Korea also claims, and furthermore, it is thought that under this solitary rocks lie a treasure trove of natural gas, if not oil as well.
China sees the port as the US muscling in too close to its own territorial waters in the Yellow Sea, and like the South China Sea, Beijing looks upon the Yellow Sea as ‘mare nostrum’. That the Jeju naval facility cause China much wool to thread is part and parcel of the Obama Doctrine which sees China as America’s potential enemy for hegemony in Asia, and China’s claims as slamming an ‘Open Door Policy’ firmly shut to the US.
North Korea’s fears do not need explanation. The trilateral and coordinated North Korean policy of the three allies is but a continuation of the Korean War under a different form.]
On land, in a simulated search and rescue land drill in Pocheon close to North Korean border, 2000 troops, F 15Ks and KF 16s and light attack planes using live fire will be among the weapons deployed during two days exercises.
Additionally, US Apache attack helicopters, tanks and rocket launchers will fire thousands of rounds during this land deployment.
It is very useful to point out that, despite a 59 year armistice, freezing the Korean War at the DMZ–an agreement South Korea refused to sign–the US and the ROK have tried one way or the other to bend North Korea to accept conditions Pyongyang rejects or since the collapse of the Soviet Union to push the DPRK to the point of collapse or provoke it to reopen the Korean War.
Kim Jung eun is continuing his father’s military first policy, for the plain and simple truth, North Korea views Washington’s, Seoul’s, and Tokyo’s motives as further evidence of the pursuing war like objectives to destroy the DPRK, by the continued absence of a peace treaty ending the 62 year old war–a war that looks as though it is going to continue for 100 years.
For the US, South Korea, and Japan hope springs eternal that they will achieve their objectives, in spite of the long record of failure. Push as these allies might, North Korea’s nuclear programme should give them pause to act prudently.
Sad to say, it has not.