Seoul (GPA) – As western media talks more about a possible military intervention in North Korea, the arrival of a US aircraft carrier to participate in military drills with South Korea is rightfully making the North more agitated.
A new aspect of the annual Foal Eagle military drills between the US and South Korea is causing heightened levels of tension with the leaders of their northern neighbor. For the first time, Navy SEAL team six is participating in the war games and will reportedly be carrying out a “decapitation” simulation for a hypothetical attack on North Korea’s leaders.
Tension has been ratcheting up following a recent wave of nuclear-capable ballistic missile tests by Pyongyang. The US has responded to these test with a host of increasingly antagonistic measures, beginning with the installation of a new missile defense system in South Korea.
The installation of the missile system has been opposed not only by North Korea but also by China and Russia. The two nations agreed that the missile battery could be used to undermine their own ability to defend themselves, which has also further escalated tensions in the region.
North Korea Propaganda Blitz
Since the missile launches in the north and the installation of the US missiles, there has also been an increasing amount of anti-North Korea propaganda coming out of US corporate and independent media. The “horrors of the North Korean regime” seem to be resonating with both conservatives and liberals in the US who are increasingly calling for “something” to be done about a country deemed a “rogue state” by the west.
The topic of North Korea has been brought up by president Trump several times since his inauguration, including during his meeting with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. Trump is seemingly following in the footsteps of former president Obama’s foreign policy ‘pivot to Asia,’ and encouraging more militant possible ‘solutions’ to dealing with Pyongyang.
US Escalations Ahead of Foal Eagle
On top of the arrival of the new US missiles in South Korea, the US has also taken several other steps that point to a possible confrontation with Pyongyang in the future. First off is of course the introduction of the SEALs into the war games with the south, but there have also been other measures enacted.
The amount of US ships will nearly double the amount of missiles within striking distance of North Korea from the number already currently located in the region in countries like Japan and South Korea. The US is also preparing to permanently station a fleet of Grey Eagle drones – capable of being equipped hellfire missiles – near the 38th parallel (the demilitarized border between the two Koreas).
The US has not given a definitive statement on whether these drones would or wouldn’t be armed. According to Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the east Asia nonproliferation program at Middlebury Institute of International Affairs at Monterey in California in an interview with The Guardian, this non-answer could cause even more escalation.
This caused Mr. Lewis to warn, for the sake of international safety, that “If they are not going to arm them, they need to say that. They need to make them absolutely clear.” Lewis also cautioned US leaders about the idea of a “decapitating strike,” saying it would likely cause North Korea to “strengthen their incentives to make sure that low level commanders will have the ability to use nuclear weapons. It will make the North Koreans even more jumpy and have a way itchier trigger finger.”
This all comes as senior lawmakers in Washington contemplate the possibility of giving authorization for a first strike on Pyongyang to Donald Trump.
Pyongyang Responds to Increasing Threats
Since North Korea is familiar with the history of the United States and their disregard for international law, they have issued a strong statement in response to these factors as well as the upcoming arrival of a US aircraft carrier near their territorial waters.
The North Korean state-run news agency KCNA announced their suspicions yesterday, saying that if the arrival of the US strike group was part of a “reckless scheme” to attack them they would respond in every way possible. The statement told the the US and South Koreans that if Pyongyang felt the drills “infringe on the DPRK’s sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater.”
According to KCNA, this scenario has already almost played out when on March 11th “many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army.”
An attack on (and possible conflict with) North Korea would most likely be short lived but even western media admits it would likely be bloody and result in an untold number of deaths; especially if the North manages to fire off a nuclear weapon. North Korea has always contended that their nuclear missile program is a deterrent for possible aggression launched by other Asian and western nations.
Kim Jong-Un has even stated that he is not interested in a nuclear first strike but only looking to protect his country’s sovereignty. This is clearly another case of the western powers trying to control which nations the right to nuclear weapons and self determination. Unless you believe that a massive amount of Korean deaths (and a possible nuclear catastrophe) are worth the US being able to continue dictating nuclear terms to the world then this aggression by the west and their Asian partners should be resisted at all costs.
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