North Korean missile launches and military exercises between the United States and South Korea. This is how both sides traditionally respond to each other on the Korean peninsula. Paralyzed since 2018, major exercises between the US and South Korean armies have resumed and intensified in recent months. Pyongyang believes they are a dress rehearsal for an invasion of its territory, while Washington and Seoul say they are defensive.
With RFI correspondent in South Korea, Nicolas Rocca.
An exercise exercise Ssangyong, “double dragon” in Korean, is a mock landing off the North Korean coast. From Pohang beach, in the southeast of the peninsula, it is difficult to see the five large amphibious ships hidden behind the mist.
Fighter planes and helicopters give the signal. Suddenly, 50 Korean armed forces vehicles are approaching at high speed. Able to navigate the sea, equipped with tracks to storm the beach, they lead a handful of men who rush onto the sand with weapons drawn.
Colonel Yoo Chang-won considers the operation a success. “This exercise has once again demonstrated the strong alliance and joint defense posture of the ROK and US Marines. The Marines are combat-ready and will respond to any provocation from the enemy,” he said.
“A Routine Exercise”
Once the ground is secured by the Koreans, it is the turn of the US Marines, who land in huge hovercraft with war vehicles. When you’re on the beach and the troops are charging with their guns pointed at you, it’s hard to see it as a purely defensive operation.
“This is a routine exercise, defensive in nature. And it contributes to the common defense of the peninsula. The most likely case in which we would use this type of exercise is in the context of humanitarian aid and disaster relief for to help our friends and allies when they need American help,” explains Captain Kevin Buss, however.
A communication operation that distinguishes. On one side of the beach, protesters came to show their support for the soldiers, while others unfurled a banner demanding the withdrawal of US troops from Korea.