A South Korean government official says North Korea may be coordinating a large-scale military exercise near the port city of Nampho about 30 miles from Pyongyang.
The single unnamed government official, who spoke to South Korean news outlet Yonhap says, “It appears that the scale of the drill will be quite big. There is no way to tell when it will actually kick off, but there is a chance the North may opt to launch short range missiles as part of its show of force.”
The London Times reports the exercise will be a major combination of land and sea forces executing drills along the Yellow Sea coast.
The Guardian reports the same thing, suggesting aircraft and artillery units may already be underway to the region but points out no solid evidence for the exercise yet exists.
Much of the North’s military is currently occupied with spring farming, but given its fiery rhetoric in recent weeks, South Korea is remaining vigilant.
Tomorrow 50 southern workers are leaving their jobs at the North’s Kaesong Industrial Complex. When they’re gone, the South expects Pyongyang to again ratchet up military tensions along their shared border.
Regardless of what the North does or doesn’t wind up doing in the coming days, it will likely spin its actions internally as part of a response to recent U.S. military actions in the region.
The U.S. and South Korea just concluded, the two-month Foal Eagle joint military exercise. Foal Eagle is the largest annual joint manoeuvre, involving the two long time allies.
Stars and Stripes points out that this year’s exercise proved unusually “brazen.” U.S. Forces Korea said in March that allied troops in the area would not be “bullied” by the North. The U.S. followed this statement up with bringing nuclear capable B-52 bombers and a nuclear attack submarine into the region.
With nearly 30,000 allied troops exercising off its borders, the North could use an exercise of its own to claim it ended the U.S. exercise with a show of force.
We’ll follow the situation and report on any significant developments.
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