Today Monday 7 March, the U.S. and South Korean military are set to begin their annual joint military exercises. This year’s “Key Resolve and Foal Eagle” exercises is said to be the largest since 2010 amid high tensions on the Korean peninsula.
At least more than 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 U.S. troops are reportedly involved in “Key Resolve” drills. South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo has said the exercises will be twice the size of last year.
“Foal Eagle” is set to include a US aircraft carrier, as well as nuclear-powered submarines. The military power games is expected to kick off today and last until April 30th.
The drills come on the heels of new UN sanctions being imposed on North Korea, which says it considers the drills a prelude to a northward invasion.
The US and South Korea insist the drills are defensive in nature and are intended to warn North Korea against any provocations.
Security tensions have increased since the North tested a nuclear device in January, followed by a rocket launch.
The North responded to the sanctions by saying it was readying nuclear weapons for ‘pre-emptive’ use, and firing short-range missiles into the sea.
Military analysts doubt the country has the ability to put nuclear warheads on its missiles but those are speculations.