March 23, 2015

Why North Korea Is So Freaked out by US-ROK Drills

By David Eunpyoung Jee

Spring is a season for cherry blossoms. However, for many of the 28,500 of American military personnel forward deploying in the Republic of Korea (ROK), this is the season for living in desolate bunkers. Every year, as winter gives way to spring, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) and the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff conduct annual combined military exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle. The command and field exercises elicit a steady barrage of North Korean vitriol, making this also a season for censure. Pyongyang propagandists produce variations on an old theme: that ‘U.S. imperialists and South Korean reactionaries’ are bringing the peninsula to the brink of nuclear war. North Korean missile launches are but the punctuation points of this disinformation campaign.Why does North Korea overreact to what the ROK-U.S. alliance sees as routine, annual defensive exercises?

Read the full op-ed in The Diplomat.

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