But Pyongyang is not happy that the exercises are still going on in the East Sea (Sea of Japan), on the other side of the peninsula (and away from China's watchful eye). Instead of focusing on our side's apparent kowtowing to China, maybe I should try to see the glass as half full, as in we are still conducting a very large exercise with considerable technology that has to have the DPRK (and the PRC) at least a tad nervous. From the NYT:
On Sunday, in a show of their combined military power, a fleet of U.S. and South Korean naval ships and submarines sailed into waters off the east coast of South Korea, led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, one of the biggest ships in the U.S. Navy. Japan, a historical rival of the two Koreas but an ally of South Korea and the United States in their confrontation with North Korea, dispatched military observers in the four-day exercise.And then, of course, we have the tightening of financial screws on North Korea, so it's not as if we're doing nothing. Still, that idea that China can diplomatically pressure us not to conduct military exercises in the very body of water where our side lost four dozen people by a clear military provocation is niggling at the back of my mind. Dang Chinese are a bunch of nigglers!
The drills mobilized 20 ships, 8,000 troops from both allies and an unusually large number of warplanes: more than 200 aircraft, including the F-22 Raptor fighter, which joins an exercise in South Korea for the first time.
I think we should plan (and announce ahead of time) new exercises to be held off the west coast. Barring that idea, a nice joint military exercise involving the US, the ROK, and Japan will be a nice next step. Pyongyang needs to feel consequences for what it did, and Beijing needs to feel consequences for letting it go unpunished.