South Korean and American forces are undergoing rigorous combined arms training while North Korea continues to issue threats of nuclear war. Just yesterday, U.S. Marines and South Korean troops made a dramatic simulated beach landing as part of the ongoing annual war games dubbed Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, and this year will be the largest variation of the drills ever.
As you can see in the video below, the exercise had no shortage of press coverage. This is unsurprising, as the propaganda and the intimidation battle via the media has never stopped being waged by both sides.
Adding to the potent mix of weaponry, the supercarrier USS John C. Stennis and her four escorts have docked in Korea after patrolling the South China Sea. After shore leave, the Stennis Strike Group will go on to take part in South Korea’s ongoing exercises, a development that North Korea is surely to detest. That is a lot of naval firepower, added to an already large array of forces that are highly active in and around South Korea.
Other U.S. Navy assets operating off of the Korean Peninsula are two Expeditionary Strike Groups that include helicopter landing docks as their centerpiece and the fast attack submarine USS North Carolina.
All this naval activity is occurring as North Korea seems to be going through a very quiet maritime drama of their own—searching for a lost submarine. We still have not heard anything about the fate of this submarine, but some sources state that North Korea lost contact with it a week ago, and that maritime patrol, naval assets and satellite sensors were monitoring the North Korean’s frantic search for it.
Now, with so much combat power in place, and possibly more coming in the form of the United States’ most deadly aircraft, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, we will have to wait and see what exactly the North Korean response will be. The Kim regime is already extremely paranoid when it comes to potential American attack. Now that he and his military advisers are witnessing a rapid build-up of America’s most advanced hardware, for exercise or not, their reactions cannot be predicted.
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.