It has started. The US and South Korea have begun joint military exercises Sunday, according to US Forces spokesman David Oten. These exercises are being carried out in response to escalating violence and aggression carried out by North Korean forces against South Korean military and civilians last Tuesday on the island of Yeonpyeong, an island located just off the shared Korean peninsula in the Yellow Sea. The assault killed a total of four people, while wounding and terrorizing many more. Many residents of the island have decided to never return. The plan is for the S. Korean navy aided by US forces to conduct a show of military strength in order to halt any further potential aggression led by N. Korean forces.
The attack comes in response to what N. Korea perceived as a direct threat from S. Korea as they carried out routine exercises on the island, that which the S. Korean military has carried out at the same time of year for around a decade. So the questions remains: why did the N. Koreans attack when they had a decade’s worth of forewarning that the exercises were to take place? To the military exercises that are to taking place today, the Korean Central News Agency of North Korea says that the naval operations are “no more than an attempt to find a pretext for aggression and ignite a war at any cost” and warned that the drills “are putting the Korean peninsula at a state of ultra-emergency.” North Korea has warned of unpredictable “consequences” if the United States sends an aircraft carrier to the Yellow Sea for the military maneuver (which it has already done).
China has already called for an emergency meeting of the six major powers involved in talks about the Korean peninsula.
It is interesting to note that the The Yeonpyeong attack was the first direct artillery assault on South Korea since 1953, when an armistice ended fighting. North and South Korea are still technically at war.