July 28, 2010

North Korea reacting to war games

POLITICS - For the last four days the United States and South Korea has been conducting war games and battle simulations off the coast of North Korea, a mighty show of force against the nuclear-missile armed country. North Korea warned months ago that any incursion on their territory would be seen as an act of war.

The war games included anti-submarine exercises and included 20 submarines and naval vessels, the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington, 8,000 troops, 200+ fighter planes and 3 American destroyers + 2 South Korean destroyers.

Code-named "Invincible Spirit," the display was meant as a distraction as American unmanned spy planes flew over North Korea, taking snapshots of the Korean terrain which will be useful to create an invasion plan if and when North Korea and the United States go to war. The USA has no shortage of satellite imagery of North Korea, but the spy planes provide more detailed imagery of the mountains and important structures.

Regardless the display was the largest joint U.S-South Korean military exercise in history. Even bigger than offensives made during the 1950-53 Korean War.

In addition to unmanned drones they also tested out four new F-22 stealth fighters, which are designed to sneak behind enemy lines and bomb targets quickly. The F-22 (aka the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor) is the most advanced stealth fighter currently in service (they will eventually be replaced by the F-35s which are just starting production). According to military sources the F-22 can bomb North Korea's nuclear facilities in Yongbyon within 30 minutes of taking off.

North Korea’s National Defense Commission says that the American-South Korean military exercises are an “undisguised challenge” to the international community’s hopes for peace on the Korean Peninsula. The NDC said they will “legitimately counter with their powerful nuclear deterrence the largest-ever nuclear war exercises to be staged by the U.S. and the South Korean puppet forces.”

Meanwhile China has mobilized scout planes, their submarines and their satellites to gather more information. The United States and China have become tied at the hip economically so if the USA goes to war with North Korea, China will definitely be helping. China's news media has denounced the war games as "risky" and their military is making a show of force in an effort to convince the North Koreans that they're still allies.

China's worry is that North Korea might use nuclear missiles against Chinese cities during an early stages of a war. They have a lot to lose if the North Koreans feel they are being betrayed and try to take out their revenge against the Chinese. Its no small secret however that the USA and China are tied economically, especially the massive debt the USA accumulated during George W. Bush's time in office.

Meanwhile the Japanese Naval Self Defense Force sent 4 officers and observed the exercises, eager to learn how they may play a role in any war with North Korea which is now seen as inevitable according to many military strategists. In recent years Japan has made a number of constitional changes which allows them to go to war again, withdrawing from the previously enshrined belief in a pacifist military which can only respond to threats.

Canada's recent order for 65 new F-35 stealth fighters suggests they want to get in on the action too.

For the last 57 years the United States and North Korea have been officially at war. The Korean War may have ended in 1953, but there was never a peace treaty and skirmishes over the years have resulted in North Korea taking extraordinary efforts to acquire nuclear missile technology and test detonate nuclear devices.

How North Korea responds to spy planes probing inside their borders and the recent war games could be quite devastating.

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