After three years of intense fighting and little gain on either side, the Korean War whimpered out in a tenuous 1953 ceasefire.Both sides agreed enough was enough and returned home to lick its wounds and moved on into the promising armistice that divided the county into North and South in 1954. The thing about a ceasefire is that it’s usually temporary, with fighting either resuming or officially concluding upon the signing of a peace treaty — neither of those things happened following the Korean War — yet, anyway.
It has long seemed that the U.S. and South Korea were lingering more on the side of peace, with the North more firmly entrenched in their warring past, but the most recent allied war games, just south of the countries shared border, may knock that theory back a bit.
Ahn Young-Joon and Sam Kim from the AP report that these drills fell on Monday’s anniversary of the end of the Korean conflict, that technically leaves both sides still at war, with a large North Korean flag as part of some intense live fire practice.
Wargames are not uncommon, but using the nationalistic symbol of the North as the focus of destruction is — and will no doubt be viewed with concern by the North.
Ahn and Kim point out that no direct hits were scored on the flag itself but, which may help mitigate and immediate Northern response, along with a staggering economy that won’t really support a full on military response, but it will likely increase threats and provocations.
South Korean forces said only that the flag was meant to mark enemy territory while the North’s state media called the move a “precursor to an invasion” and that even a skirmish may lead to “full scale regional nuclear war.”
Without the money or means to fight a large scale conventional battle, there doesn’t seem to be much reason why the North wouldn’t bring out the most powerful weapon in its arsenal should it feel attacked.
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