The armed forces of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States military began large-scale joint military drills and exercises on Monday after a week of preliminary exercises and simulations, despite clear dissent from government leaders and North Korean armed forces. Military exercises, known as the training of crisis management personnel, are held annually between the US and South Korean armies to test conflict readiness and the effectiveness of training programs. The Yonhap agency, a leading South Korean media outlet, said the all-military training sessions are scheduled to take place between Aug. 16e and August 26e.
At the time of the preliminary stages of these exercises, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said the details of the full-scale exercises, including the scale, duration and overall training of the exercises, had not yet been determined. . While the United States and the Republic of Korea regularly hold these military exercises, North Korea has long opposed them, calling the exercises “war rehearsal,” according to Reuters. According to unidentified military sources obtained by Yonhap, the exercises are likely to consist mainly of “computer simulations without field training involving troops based in the United States.” However, tensions with North Korea remain high.
Direct lines between the two Koreas, which North Korea initially severed in 2020 following an unsuccessful summit with former US President Donald Trump, were re-established at the end of July following a resumption of written contacts between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un. Korean media have portrayed the re-establishment of the hotline as “a big step towards restoring mutual trust and promoting reconciliation.” The hotline was also applauded by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as a step towards “verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”.
However, in early August, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, issued a statement claiming that carrying out the joint military exercises as planned “would significantly undermine the determination of the two Koreas to rebuild their relations,” according to the author. ‘State. KCNA media. August 11edays after the start of the preliminary exercises, a senior North Korean official denounced South Korea’s joint military exercises with the United States and warned that their neighbor to the south “must be made clear how much they have to pay. dear to respond to our good faith with hostile acts. after dropping the opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations, ”CNN said. The hostile comments came hours after Pyongyang cut off telephone communications with Seoul.
While North Korea has made it clear that it views the ROK’s actions as a threat to diplomatic relations on the Korean Peninsula, Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US State Department, argued that the military exercises are “purely defensive in nature.”[…]The United States has no hostile intentions towards North Korea, but remains committed to the security of South Korea. “
Given the importance of re-establishing direct lines between the two Koreas, the tension that these military exercises have created should receive legitimate diplomatic attention from the international community. It is in the national security interests of the Korean Peninsula, as well as the United States, to commit to restoring relations between North Korea and South Korea, two countries which remain at war after the conflict. from 1950-1953. North Korea must agree to plan a summit with its southern neighbor and be open to the efforts of South Korea and other international actors, including the United States, to work for negotiations and a possible denuclearization.