The U.S. and South Korean militaries held another round of military exercises last week. The U.S. Air Force deployed F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters and conducted joint bombing drills with South Korea’s Air Force. In total, 230 aircraft and 12,000 troops participated in the annual Vigilant Ace exercises from December 4 through 8. North Korea denounced the exercises as a provocation towards “the brink of nuclear war.”
In South Korea, anti-war groups called for a halt to the military exercises and the start of peace talks. The National People’s Anti-War Peace Action (전쟁반대평화실현국민행동) held five days of protests outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul during the Vigilant Ace exercises. Calling the latest war games a “part of the sixty-year history of U.S.’ rehearsal of the invasion of North Korea,” the protesters condemned the U.S. for refusing to stop the military exercises and escalating tensions in the region.
Journalist Tim Shorrock joined The Dig hosted by Daniel Denvir on December 5 to talk about the long history of U.S. military intervention in Korea. War is the “talk of the town,” said Shorrock, referring to the current mood in Washington. “There is very little talk about negotiation or the roots of the crisis,” he added.
Shorrock explains the historical context behind North Korea’s decision to turn to nuclear weapons as a deterrent and provides hope for peace amidst fears of nuclear disaster. It is critical, he says, that North and South Korea be able to engage each other without U.S. military intervention.
Listen Here or play below (interview starts at 00:04:50).
Tim Shorrock is a Washington-based investigative journalist. Over the past 35 years, his work has appeared in many publications in the United States and abroad, including The Nation, The Progressive, Foreign Policy in Focus and Asia Times. He also appears frequently on the radio as a commentator on intelligence, contracting, foreign policy, East Asia and North and South Korea. He is the author of SPIES FOR HIRE: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence.
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