the north face surge backpack As North plans missile launch
territory and major military hub.
Called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, the exercises are expected to run from Aug. 21 31 and involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air. Washington and Seoul say the exercises are defensive in nature and crucial to maintaining a deterrent against North Korean aggression.
The exercises were scheduled well before tensions began to rise over President Donald Trump’s increasingly fiery rhetoric and North Korea’s announcement of the missile plan, which if carried out would be its most provocative launch yet. Along with a bigger set of maneuvers held every spring, the exercises are routinely met by strong condemnation and threats of countermeasures from North Korea.
While tensions typically spike around the dates of the exercises North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test just days after last year’s maneuvers the situation generally calms afterward as the North needs to focus on its farms and the approach of the fall harvest.
The heightened military activity on the peninsula this time is a concern because it could increase the possibility of a mishap or an overreaction of some sort by either side that could spin into a more serious escalation. North Korea has been increasingly sensitive to the exercises lately because they reportedly include training for “decapitation strikes” to kill Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.
Pyongyang is also switching its propaganda machine into high gear by bringing in a large number of foreign journalists to ensure it gets global attention for an event next week in honor of its ruling Kim family on Mount Paektu, a dormant volcano that straddles the Chinese border and is something of a spiritual home for the regime.
Defense officials in Seoul confirmed Friday that the exercises are expected to begin without any delays, but refused to provide further details. Department of Defense, Ulchi Freedom Guardian involves about 40,000 troops, along with civilian South Korean government personnel who train their civil defense responses. and the North since new sanctions against North Korea were announced last week.
Keeping up his tough talk from his New Jersey golf resort where he is on a working vacation,
Trump warned Kim Jong Un’s government to “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea was too mild. is considering a pre emptive military strike as he spoke to reporters before a briefing with his top national security advisers.
The president insisted the North had been “getting away with a tragedy that can’t be allowed.”
“North Korea better get their act together, or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble,” Trump said, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence. Accusing his predecessors of insufficient action, Trump said it was time somebody stood up to Kim Jong Un.
According to its reported plan, North Korea would fire four Hwasong 12 intermediate range missiles over Japan and into waters around Guam, home to about 7,000 troops and 160,
000 people. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.