The U.S. and South Korea conduct military exercises for the second time in less than a month. The apparently 'defensive' drills have fired up anti-war protests in Seoul. The drills are also adding to ongoing conflicts between North and South Korea and angering China.
The U.S. and South Korea have started their second joint military exercises in less than a month and it's again sparked anti-war protests in Seoul.
The drills are fuelling increasing tensions between North and South Korea, and angering regional power—China.
Last week, Seoul completed its own maritime drills off the west coast of the divided peninsula.
The North responded with a barrage of artillery shells that landed in the same area of water.
Washington has stated that its drills in July and August aim to send a message to Pyongyang that its behaviour is aggressive and must stop.
But it also maintains the exercises are defensive in nature.
North Korea reacted by promising that its response would be severe.
A protest leader spoke with reporters in South Korea's capital:
[You Young-Jae, Anti-War Protest Leader]:
"The U.S. and South Korea maintain this is a defensive exercise, but it's clear that this should be an exercise for attacks if we check the characteristics and size of the troops. So this drill threatens the peace on the Korean peninsula seriously and we strongly urge them to stop this immediately."
Pyongyang has often turned to sabre-rattling, but analysts say it is unlikely that the current tensions will lead to a large-scale conflict.
But last week's actions in the Yellow Sea occurred on the site of previous conflicts since the 1953 armistice.
Conflicts include the sinking of South Korean naval vessel, the Cheonan, earlier this year. The North has denied involvement in the incident.