By: Matthew Choi, News Writer
On Mar. 27, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Armed Forces along with U.S soldiers began the largest military exercise between the two countries since 1993.
The yearly twelve day military exercise is called Foal Eagle and tests the ROK and the US forces’ ability to respond quickly and decisively in case of an invasion from North Korea. Foal Eagle is considered one of the largest military exercises that is conducted annually, and with every year is a source of controversy from the North Korean government.
During these exercises, the North Korean government claim that Foal Eagle is actually a preparation for an invasion against North Korea and has repeatedly caused major tension because the two nations. Just last year, North Korea threaten to consider the 1953 armistice void and conduct nuclear strikes against both South Korean and American cities. However, this year before the exercises were conducted, the North Korean government launched multiple ballistic missile tests, which is seen as a protest to the exercise.
Just as Foal Eagle 2014 took place, North Korea announced their own live fire exercises, and on Monday, Mar. 31, North Korea fired over 500 shells towards the legal sea border. ROK responded by firing their own barrage of artillery and scrambled jets in case of any shells striking the main land. This artillery strike is shown as a further sign that North Korea disapproves of the military exercises. There were no casualties on either side, but this incident has increased tension between the two nations. When the shelling ended on both sides, the ROK Armed Forces found a wreckage of a surveillance drone, and it is highly likely this is a North Korean drone. The drone has been reported to have taken high resolution pictures of South Korean military camps and the presidential compound.
The Two Koreans have technically been at war since 1953. The Foal Eagle drill is set to end on Apr. 18.