NORTH KOREA: That Time of the Year

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – Nothing says “stop it” like a country threatening to nuke its neighbor for taking part in a military drill. This is how North Korea responded to this year’s Foal Eagle exercise, which is an annual military drill held in South Korea between its forces and those from the Unites States. Also, it is one of North Korea’s pet peeves.

American and South Korean forces are just getting ready for this year’s Foal Eagle exercise, and the North is already voicing its disapproval, warning the U.S. and the South that it is not afraid to use its nuclear weapons. But this is nothing new. It’s basically a repeat of the North’s response to the same event last year.

North Korea’s government-controlled press recently claimed that the United States is keeping troops in South Korea because it is planning to attack the North. Last month, the North even conducted military drills of its own.

The tension over this year’s Foal Eagle started to build last month, when North Korea suggested a few ways the two Koreas can work towards a more peaceful Korean peninsula, such as having both countries tone down their belligerent rhetoric. The North also suggested that the South could help calm things down by discontinuing Foal Eagle. The North also made it known that it does not plan to get rid of its nukes. These statements cause many to believe that North Korea’s attempts to subdue tension were nothing but publicity stunts to appear diplomatic.

Foal Eagle will probably continue until sometime in April, so things could get more tense in the coming months. But it is our hope that Korean tensions will not rise to the levels they did during last year’s military exercises.

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