A clear sign of that spring is at hand, 17,000 US troops and some 300,000 South Korean troops began their annual spring military exercise focused on fighting a war against North Korea, an operation military commanders insisted was totally “non-provocative.”
As it does literally every year, the drill has fueled North Korean condemnation and talk of full-scale nuclear war. And even though at any other time during the year US officials would point out North Korea doesn’t have deliverable nuclear arms, State Department officials insist now they take the threats “seriously.”
Which is in keeping with the annual dust-ups with the North Koreans as credible as possible, at least for the month or so they tend to last before North Korea eventually redeploys its military to plant crops in hopes of staving off famine for another year.
State Department officials also threatened more sanctions against North Korea in response, though after last week’s UN Security Council bans on snowmobiles and tennis rackets, it’s not clear what else they can possibly bar from the country.