The United States deployed stealth fighter jets to South Korea on Sunday as part of an ongoing military exercise. With tensions rising, South Korea said any North Korea attack will be met with a quick response.
The U.S sent F-22 Raptors to support air drills that are part of an annual training exercise, reports CNN. Foal Eagle is a combined military training exercise by the United States and South Korea and is strictly defensive in nature as the two countries test South Korea’s ability to defend itself. The annual training exercise was agreed to as part of the Korean Armistice Act in 1953. While the exercises occur each year in March, with the recent tension caused by North Korean propaganda targeting the U.S., the defensive military exercise has caused greater tension between the two countries.
Earlier in March, North Korea declared the 1953 armistice invalid, while photos have shown a “U.S. mainland strike plan,” and recent propaganda from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea featured videos depicting the defeat of American soldiers.
With the context surrounding the annual military exercise, which itself has caused tension over the years, the United States Forces Korea has asked North Korea to scale back the threats and propaganda. In a statement, the USFK said, “The North Korean leadership is urged to heed President Obama's call to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with its international obligations.” The recent propaganda, according to the U.S. military command in South Korea, only serves to further isolate North Korea and disrupts the peace efforts in Northeast Asia.
North Korea’s state-run news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, said in a statement from the National Peace Committee of Korea, “It has been disclosed that the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces have been drastically reinforced in the last one to two years in South Korea against the backdrop of their reckless war moves against the DPRK, stunning public at home and abroad.” North Korea describes the joint military training exercise as “openly revealing its attempt to mount a nuclear attack on the DPRK.” Further, the KCNA says that the Americans and South Koreans are acting as the aggressors and initiating a war with the DPRK. KCNA also announced North Korea was planning to enter a "state of war" with South Korea.
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North Korea also threatened that any conflict between the nations will not be a local war isolated to Northeast Asia but will be a full-fledged nuclear war, reports CNN.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in a response to North Korea’s threats, said in a statement, “If there is any provocation against South Korea and its people, there should be a strong response in initial combat without any political considerations.”
Reuters reports the Kaesong Industrial Complex on the border, a joint economic zone that includes hundreds of South Korean and North Korean workers and personnel and, despite the recent threats, remains open.