BUSAN, South Korea — Annual war games between South Korea and the U.S. military never fail to bring a loud outcry from North Korea.
U.S. military officials showing off their latest addition to the maneuvers – a new type of ship designed to deal with the exact kind of threat the North could pose – say that despite Pyongyang’s protests, they are not about to back away from what has become one of the world’s largest joint military exercises.
The “Key Resolve/Foal Eagle” exercises, which began March 2 and will continue through April 24, involve thousands of U.S. troops working alongside a massive mobilization of their South Korean counterparts on land, at sea and in the air. They are among the largest and longest-standing maneuvers conducted each year by the U.S. and its allies.
The kickoff of this year’s exercises spurred North Korea to strongly condemn them and to test-fire several missiles to show its displeasure. On Saturday, the North’s state media called the exercises an example of Washington’s “vicious hostile policy” and obliquely warned it is ready to match any attempt to overthrow its ruling regime with an escalation to nuclear war.
“Nuclear war is not a game. If the U.S. thinks it can survive and win a nuclear war, it will be a delusion of an idiot,” said an editorial in the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling party. “The U.S. imperialists should not misjudge the firm will of the army and people of the DPRK to mercilessly smash the anti-DPRK hysterics and eliminate the source of evils.” North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.