Asia Minute: Massive Annual Military Exercises Coming to Korean Peninsula

Feb 14, 2017

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North Korea’s latest missile launch has sparked condemnations from the United States and its allies in the Asia Pacific. It also led to an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council. But events coming elsewhere on the Korean peninsula in less than a month are likely to draw a different kind of reaction. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

For just a moment, forget about rhetorical warnings and economic sanctions.

An event is coming soon that may be the biggest reality check North Korea gets every year.

Next month will bring a set of annual joint military exercises involving U.S. and South Korean forces.

The maneuvers called “Key Resolve/Foal Eagle” are the biggest combined military exercises on the Korean peninsula – among the largest in the world.

Last year’s operations lasted nearly eight weeks and according to a Defense Department news release, involved approximately 17,000 U.S. forces.

The Korea Herald quotes a South Korean military official as saying more than 300,000 of its military personnel took part.

The drills involve ground, air, naval and special operations forces.

Last week, the Chosun Ilbo reported this year’s exercises will be even bigger than last year’s and are expected to include an aircraft carrier fleet and B-1B bombers.

That information came before North Korea’s latest missile launch this weekend.

The Pyongyang government always condemns the military exercises—this year is no exception.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for North Korea’s “Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland” warned of “a catastrophic outcome” if the maneuvers take place as scheduled.