F-15K of the Republic of Korea Air Force flies overhead during a joint military exercise of the United States and South Korea near the 38th Parallel. (Photo/Xinhua)
While the United States, South Korea and Japan are launching the largest joint military exercises in the Korean Peninsula, drills are also being conducted by the People's Liberation Army near the border of North Korea, according to Korea-based Yonhap News Agency in Seoul.
There are aspects to the recent joint military exercises that are without historical precedent. Aegis destroyers from the Japan Maritime Defense Force were, for the first time, given authority by South Korea to enter its waters and conduct joint naval exercises with South Korea and the US. Large scale military exercises between the US and South Korea were conducted near the 38th parallel that divides North and South Korea. The US House of Senate followed up these maneuvers with a revision of its "Agricultural Law" to prohibit providing food aid to the North Korea on Jun 20.
These joint exercises sent a rather subtle message when the flag of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was used indirectly during the military exercises, according to Yonhap. The spokesman of North Korea's National Peace Committee blamed the United States and South Korea on Jun 22 for launching a war of invasion to destroy the peace and security of Northeast Asia. Yonhap also claimed that both the Korean People's Army of North Korea and the People's Liberation Army of China are preparing for a war against allied invasion.
Around 100 Chinese soldiers have been stationed just across the Yalu River and have been trained to enter North Korea in the event of a war. China, under the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty signed in 1961, is under oath to come to North Korea's aid if a dispute over the Korean Peninsula erupts. Since North Korea is considered a buffer zone by China, an unification of Korea under the influence of the United States is unacceptable to the leaders of Beijing, reports Yonhap.
A scholar from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told the reporters of Duowei News, a US-based news source that makes claims that are often difficult to prove, that China will not start a war against either United States or South Korea unless the countries attack North Korea first. Chinese netizens also blamed South Korea for exaggerating the intention of the Chinese training exercise over the Yalu River. "Even if we start a similar military exercise near the Amur River, it doesn't mean we want to attack Siberia," said a Chinese netizen.