South Korea – U.S. Engage in Military Exercises Days after Attacks by North Korea

South Korea – U.S. Engage in Military Exercises Days after Attacks by North Korea

South Korea – U.S. Engage in Military Exercises Days after Attacks by North Korea

Just a week after North Korea initiated an artillery attack on South Korea that left four South Koreans dead, the United States and South Korea were once again engaged in joint naval exercises just off the North Korean coast.  On Wednesday, South Korea’s intelligence agency warned that more attacks from North Korea were likely, partly because the North views the naval exercises as an act of aggression.

South Korean director of National Intelligence Service, Won Sei-hoon, recently spoke of the likelihood that North Korea would initiate additional attacks.  The South’s Defense Minister, Kim Tae-young, added that attacks, if they occur, are likely to happen after the completion of the joint military exercises.

On November 23, North Korea launched an artillery attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.  The attack killed two South Korean marines along with two civilians.  North Korean officials claim the attack was retaliation for live artillery attacks by the South.  It has not been confirmed if the South fired on North Korea.  The North’s attack on the island of Yeonpyeong was the first time since the 1950-1953 Korean War that a civilian area was a military target.

Tensions between the two countries have been higher than normal since a March incident that left 46 South Korean sailors dead following an attack on a warship.  It is believed that North Korea fired a torpedo at the ship.  In addition to that attack, recent reports of North Korea’s new uranium enrichment program has put the South and its allies on high alert, while increasing the tension between the two countries.

China, North Korea’s only major ally, has called for emergency sessions involving both Koreas, Japan, Russia, the United States, and China to help ease the tensions in the area.  So far, those requests have been rebuffed, largely due to the unpredictable nature the North Korean government is viewed as having.

South Korean officials have said that additional military exercises were being planned with the United States, however, the timing of those exercises have not been disclosed.


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