Pyongyang threatened Tuesday to unleash a “merciless” assault on the U.S. and allied forces drilling on the Korean Peninsula.
In preparation for a future conflict with North Korea, U.S. and South Korean troops are conducting joint military exercises as part of the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve drills. The exercises, which began in early March, are the largest drills carried out by the two allies. Furthermore, U.S., Japanese, and South Korean Aegis destroyers began practicing shooting down North Korean missiles Tuesday in the same general area where North Korea’s ballistic missiles landed after last Monday’s launch.
The nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson sailed into South Korean waters Tuesday to take part in the ongoing drills.
Pyongyang perceives the joint combat exercises as a practice run for a full-scale invasion, and the deployment of U.S. forces and military assets to the region enforces this view.
“This vividly shows that the U.S. imperialists’ reckless scheme for a pre-emptive strike at [North Korea] is going into practice in actuality,” the North’s state-run Korea Central News Agency wrote.
The news agency warned that the U.S. and South Korea should be “mindful that nuclear-powered carriers and all other strategic assets of the U.S. imperialists are in sight of the Korean People’s Army’s powerful ultra-precision strike means.”
KCNA added, “If they infringe on the [North Korea’s] sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater.”
North Korea fired four extended-range scuds into the Sea of Japan last Monday. The North’s artillerymen reportedly had a “burning desire to mercilessly retaliate against the warmongers going ahead with their joint war exercises.” North Korea wasn’t testing missiles; rather, it was preparing for nuclear war.
The next day, the U.S. began deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea to bolster the country’s missile defense capabilities. For the first time, THAAD will be incorporated into the joint drills in Korea.
The ongoing exercises will also include “decapitation” drills, in which U.S. special forces will take part, according to South Korean military officials. The drill is expected to focus on the elimination of Kim Jong-un, as well as other members of the North Korea’s leadership, in the event of a major nuclear crisis on the peninsula.
A squadron of F-35Bs is also expected to take part in the joint exercises.
“The addition of the F-35B is meant to deliver a strong message to the North that they could be used against the rogue state in case of a conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula,” Yonhap reported, quoting a military official. Last week’s missile launches are believed to have been practice runs for a strike on the airbase in Japan where the stealth strike fighters are stationed.
United States Forces Korea reported over the weekend that the U.S. will deploy attack drones to the Korean Peninsula to counter North Korean threats; however, it is unclear when the deployment will take place.
The U.S., in coordination with its allies, is pumping military hardware onto the peninsula, and North Korea is concerned, which is why it is threatening to mercilessly annihilate the allied troops drilling in the area.
“There is no guarantee that the combined exercise will not turn into a war,” said North Korea Today, a propaganda outlet for the regime, “Any pre-emptive attempts will be met with prompt and ruthless nuclear attacks.”
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