The United States and South Korea begin their largest joint military exercises in the last five years starting this Monday. This after the break that occurred as part of the historic meeting between the former president donald trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
That pause in the military maneuvers in Washington and Seoul was an attempt to persuade Pyongyang to curb its nuclear program. However, those meetings between Kim and Trump ended without results. Now, she has been the sister of North Korean leader Kim Yo Jong, who has rejected any agreement despite promises of economic aid from her southern neighbor.
The drills known as the Ulchi Freedom Shield are expected to involve thousands of military personnel and will continue from Monday for the next two weeks. Washington and Seoul say they are exercises of a defensive nature to coordinate forces in the face of a hypothetical invasion of North Korea, according to the news agency Bloomberg.
Washington and Seoul military exercises
Given the background, it is predictable that North Korea will criticize these maneuvers as an attempt by Washington and Seoul as a prelude to an invasion or military attack.
In recent weeks, nuclear war rhetoric has increased by North Korea, which a few days ago launched two cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea. It was the fourth launch since new South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol took office in May, vowing to re-establish large-scale joint drills with his North American partner.
The United States still has around 28,500 troops in South Korea and both US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk Yeol have said the drills are essential to prepare for any potential provocation from Pyongyang.