In July 2017, North Korea tested its first intercontinental missile. This is a missile that they claim would be able to reach anywhere in the world. Since then, tensions have increased dramatically between North Korea and the rest of the world. The UN imposed sanctions on North Korea on August 6 and it was hoped that such sanctions would make North Korea more willing to negotiate and have talks about their nuclear weapons program. However, nothing much has changed since then. The tensions are particularly bad between North Korea and the United States.

President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have shared some particularly heated words.

This is in large because the Korean missiles have the ability to take out several major American cities. There has been no physical conflict as of yet. However, tensions are at a tipping point this week as the United States and South Korea begin their annual military exercises. Pyongyang has assured the U.S. that they will not hesitate to launch missiles, should they feel even the slightest bit threatened.

The Ulchi Freedom Guardian

Each summer, troops from America, South Korea and the United Nations Command Force gather for military drills in South Korea. According to USA Today, this year the Ulchi Freedom Guardian will be an 11-day exercise with 17,500 American soldiers and 50,000 South Koreans present. North Korea has always viewed this event as a threat. The U.S. Defense Department has told media that this exercise is simply meant to increase stability in the region and ensure that the troops are prepared should conflict ever arise.

The exercises include computer-simulated war games and training exercises. Both Russia and China suggested that the event be postponed or canceled to prevent further tensions from arising. However, the United States decided to go through with it, claiming that the exercises were not meant as a threat to North Korea. The Ulchi Freedom Guardian began this Monday.

Korea's threat

Pyongyang has declared these drills to be an indirect indication of an invasion to come. According to BT News, they have warned that these drills may lead to an "uncontrollable nuclear war." North Korea has spoken out, saying that while they didn't send four missiles in the direction of U.S. territory, Guam, last week, that doesn't mean that they won't. They have warned that America should be very careful with its actions and that the smallest step in the wrong direction could lead to a full-scale nuclear war.

It will certainly be a stressful week in the South of Korea. We can only hope that President Trump can control his temper and encourage negotiations instead.