The Winter Olympics was expected to lead to a de-escalation of tension in the region. The Olympics were used by Kim Jong-un to show that he was adept at diplomacy when he invited the South Korea president to Pyongyang. This surprised the USA as much as it did Moon.

The invitation worried Moon as his statements on the election trail that if required he would visit North Korea for peace would be proved hollow. It is obvious he cannot accept the invitation as South Korea is hostage to US policy. Both countries earlier had agreed to postpone the Military Exercises as a peace measure.

Newsweek has now reported that both South Korea and the USA have agreed to restart Military Drills after the Olympics are over.

Military drills

The military drills involve nearly 200,000 troops of the Republic of Korea’s army and 30000 US soldiers. These drills are a provocation for North Korea which considers then hostile and a prelude to the invasion of the North. The military drills are one of the reasons that the North has gone in for its nuclear weapons program. President Moon is helpless as for all practical purposes the South is a puppet of the USA.

The 1950-53 Korean war ended in a stalemate, and despite superior firepower, the US armed forces failed to win a decisive victory. There was also high drama when President Truman sacked the celebrated General McArthur of WWII and replaced by General Ridgeway.

MacArthur had recommended a nuclear strike on China. Many US allies opposed this and Winston Churchill had cautioned against it.

US forces

Since then the US forces have remained in South Korea and have been carrying out regular military drills with the South Korean army. The North has objected to these military exercises, but the US has thought these drills and display of military power like aircraft carriers in the Korean waters is the best way of countering Kim Jong-un.

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American fears

North Korea has condemned the resumption of the military exercise. Through its official media arm, KCNA, the North has described the upcoming military exercise as an “act of ruthlessly trampling even a small sprout of peace that has been now seen on the Korean peninsula.” Kim Jong-un by inviting President Moon has put him in a quandary as he is not an independent agent and has to rely on the uS for all decisions. From the American point of view, a withdrawal from South Korea may well lead to a takeover of the South by the North. It happened similarly in Vietnam.