Tue | Sep 19, 2017

North Korea, again, demands halt to US-South Korea war games

Published:Thursday | March 31, 2016 | 3:00 AM
In this March 2016 file photo, US Marines, left, and South Korean Marines, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on the beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea.

PYONGYANG, (AP):

It is demand that North Korea has been making for decades: The United States and South Korea must immediately suspend their annual military exercises if there is to be peace on the Korean Peninsula. And once again, it is a demand that is falling on deaf ears. Following the North's recent nuclear test and rocket launch, this year's exercises are bigger than ever.

In the Koreas, the cycle of tensions is as predictable as the changing of the seasons; they surge every spring, when Washington and Seoul hold their annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises. This year's drills, which are to continue through April, are not only bigger, but also reportedly include for the first time training for precision strikes directed at the North's leadership and Kim Jong Un himself.

In the eyes of North Korea's ruling regime, that is a bridge too far.

Even before the exercises began, North Korea's formidable propaganda machine had been churning out articles every day condemning the United States and South Korea in the strongest terms, displaying nuclear bomb and missile mock-ups and warning that it is ready at any time to launch a pre-emptive strike against the presidential residence in South Korea or even a nuclear attack on the US mainland.