South Korea Drills to ‘Punish the Enemy’

Are Drills a Deliberate Attempt to Start a War?

Is South Korea deliberately trying to start a war with the North?

It seems far-fetched on the surface, but everyone was preparing for a major war Monday, when South Korea carried out a live-fire drill along its maritime border with North Korea, the exact same drill which last month ended with them trading fire.

That war didn’t happen, but civilians oughtn’t get too far from the bunkers just yet, as South Korea is announcing a new live-fire “mega drill,” far bigger and more provocative than the one on Monday.

The timing is particularly bizarre as North Korea has issued a few conciliatory statements in recent days, and the drill will undoubtedly be viewed not just as another military challenge but a slap in the face of those overtures.

Which seems to suit South Korean military officials just fine, as Brigadier General Ju announced the drill was about preparing to “punish the enemy” and insisted the South was ready for “surprise attacks.”

The White House condemned North Korea’s offer for talks as well, insisting they were too belligerent for negotiations. But it is the hawkish South Korean government openly talking about annexing the north in recent days, and despite the official claims to the contrary it has been the South announcing all the drills.

Indeed, it was only North Korea acting sensibly cautious that prevented a major war starting on Monday, and we all know how out of character that is for them. How many more times does the South intend to roll the dice on the North, and how many will it take before a new shooting war?

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.