The USA and South Korea launched a massive military exercise in the Sea of Japan on July 25. The large-scale event, which has obviously raised serious indignation of North Korea, will last through July 28.
The exercise was supposed to start on June 8, but was then delayed because the UN Security Council was supposed to consider the resolution about the sinking of the South Korean Cheonan warship in the beginning of July. A group of Western experts, whom South Korea hired to investigate the incident, concluded that the ship had sunk as a result of torpedo attack.
Several countries, Russia and China, first and foremost, had their own questions to the results of the international investigation. As a result, the resolution of the UN Security Council passed on July 9 contained no indication of North Korea's implication in the tragedy.
The preparations to the drills continued after the UN session. US and South Korean officials did not conceal the fact that the drills were going to be a response to the tragedy with the sunken warship. Politicians and defense officials of the two states said that the drills would be held to train a response to North Korea's possible attack on South Korea.
It was originally planned that the drills would be held in the Yellow Sea, where the Cheonan had sunk. China, the key ally of North Korea, did not like the idea. The Chinese authorities claimed that the drills in the area may push North Korea towards taking inadequate actions. Washington and Seoul listened to Beijing and eventually decided to hold the event in the Sea of Japan.
The drills started on July 25. About 8,000 military men, 20 warships and submarines, including USS George Washington, 200 aircraft and helicopters, including F-22 fifth-generation fighter jets, take part in the military maneuvers on each side.
As it was expected, the drills in the Sea of Japan raised serious concerns in North Korea. Officials of this country released a series of harsh statements threatening to take serious measures against the organizers of the exercise.
On July 23, the chairman of the North Korean delegation at the forum of the Association of Southeast Asian nations, Ri Tong Il, stated that his nation would make a "physical response" to the US-South Korean drills, which he described as a violation of North Korean sovereignty.
"The army and the people of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea will launch their own holy war based on nuclear deterrence at any necessary moment to give battle to American imperialists and puppet forces of South Korea which deliberately push the situation towards the edge of war. This is nothing but an open provocation to strangle the republic with the use of arms," a statement from North Korean authorities said.
Pyongyang officials said that the maneuvers marked Washington's and Seoul's second military provocation against North Korea. The first one, they believe, was the conclusion of the investigation of Western experts, who precariously blamed the nation for the sinking of the South Korean warship.
NKorean officials stated that their nation may pull out from the talks about the fate of its nuclear program after the drills. They also said that North Korea would have to rapidly strengthen its nuclear deterrence forces since the non-nuclear Korean Peninsula becomes a matter of distant future.
The military administration of South Korea established closer observation over the movement of North Korean border troops. For the time being, there is no evidence to prove that the NKorean army is getting ready for a physical response to the drills. US officials responded with saying that they were not interested in waging a war or words against North Korea.
Pyongyang 's harsh statements do not mean, of course, that the world will soon face the holy war on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has been making threats of retaliation for years. As a matter of fact, it happens every time after US-Korean drills or after every new resolution of the UN Security Council against Pyongyang.