US warned over provocative drills as enhanced military ties with Seoul during Incheon Landing anniv poses threats to peace
Enhancing military ties during Incheon Landing anniversary 'poses threats to peace'
Published: Sep 15, 2023 11:12 PM

The US and South Korea joint military drill on August 31, 2023. Photo: IC

The US and South Korea joint military drill on August 31, 2023. Photo: IC

From joint military drills and arms sales to defense dialogues, the US and South Korea are increasingly enhancing their military alliance, as the two countries commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Incheon Landing operation in the Korean War (1950-53), shrugging off opposition from North Korea.

Chinese experts said the latest military move from the US and South Korea indicates the US intention to use military means to deal with security issues on the Korean Peninsula, which will lead to a deterioration of the situation and make political reconciliation on the peninsula increasingly remote. 

Given that the latest joint military exercise is very close to the Yellow Sea of China, bringing a strong sense of targeted provocation, experts warned that the US was not the winner in Korean War, and if history repeats itself, the US will not be able to afford the cost of playing with fire on China's doorstep.

During a commemoration ceremony on Friday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol hailed the US-South Korea military alliance and emphasized the "nuclear and missile threats" from North Korea. The ceremony took place aboard the Nojeokbong landing ship in Incheon, with the participation of approximately 1,300 soldiers, alongside war veterans from the US and Canada, according to the Yonhap News Agency.   

Also on Friday, a high-level deterrence dialogue between South Korea and the US opened in Seoul, following a meeting between the leaders of North Korea and Russia. Officials from both sides condemned the Moscow-Pyongyang military cooperation, and warned that transferring weapons is a grave violation of UN Security Council resolutions, according to Yonhap. 

At the same time, South Korean media reported that senior defense officials from Seoul and Washington have agreed to cooperate in utilizing 5G wireless technology in combined operations, citing Seoul's defense ministry. On Wednesday, the US State Department approved a Foreign Military Sale to South Korea of up to 25 F-35A radar-evading fighters and related equipment. 

According to Yonhap, a US amphibious ready group led by the USS America amphibious assault ship and the Canadian frigate HMCS Vancouver participated in a joint exercise with the South Korean Navy on Thursday.

Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Friday that the deployment of the large US warship to the exercise in the Yellow Sea aims to display the US military's capability to rapidly send reinforcements and intervene in any situation in the Korean Peninsula at anytime and that it can choose any landing point it wants.

In addition, the USS America, often also dubbed a small aircraft carrier, can carry as many as 20 F-35B stealth short takeoff and vertical landing fighter jets, which are capable of conducting air raids and assaults on the Korean Peninsula, Wei said.

The joint drills outlined the US aim of defeating North Korea militarily, said Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, "The US and South Korea hope to deal with security issues on the Korean Peninsula through military means rather than dialogue and negotiation."

That means the situation of military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula will worsen and remain at a high risk, Li said, noting that hopes for the reconciliation process on the Korean Peninsula have also dimmed due to Seoul's reliance on the US.

It is also reported that the drill was held on China's doorstep in the Yellow Sea. According to the China Maritime Safety Administration, the Dalian Maritime Safety Administration on Thursday issued a navigation warning that a military mission was being carried out from 0:00 on September 15 to 18:00 on September 18, in the northern part of the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Strait. 

In addition to targeting North Korea, the US also has strong intentions to deter China and Russia. This strategic design of creating conflict and confrontation will pose greater threats to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a crime that the US has committed against regional countries out of its own strategic interests, Li said. 

"The US was not the winner on the Korean Peninsula, and the Incheon Landing is only one of the few US victories in the Korean War," said Chinese military expert Song Zhongping, "There is nothing to commemorate in the brutal war itself. Instead, let the peninsula maintain its hard-won peace - that should be the lesson that the US must remember."

Americans should have learned that they should "never play with fire" on the Korean Peninsula, let alone on China's doorstep, after looking back into history, because once a crisis breaks out, it will bring a price that the US cannot afford, Song said. 

In the Korean War, the US' military adventurism following the Incheon Landing eventually led to Washington's successive defeats with the entry of the Chinese People's Volunteers, experts said, noting that the Yellow Sea is so small and close to China that it can be entirely and easily covered by Chinese monitoring and fire, and US warships are very vulnerable targets.