N. Korea Fires More Missiles, US-South Exercises Conclude

    Photo: KCNA/AFP [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • On Saturday, a joint US-South Korea air force exercise — Vigilant Storm — concluded with the US flying two supersonic bombers over its ally as North Korea reportedly fired four short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.

    • The exercise involved around 240 warplanes, including advanced F-35 fighter jets from both countries. Saturday's participation of B-1B bombers marked the first time in five years that bombers were deployed to the Korean Peninsula.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    When Washington was truly committed to de-escalating tensions with North Korea, Pyongyang responded positively, halting missile tests and demolishing several testing sites. This changed when the US began to increase its military presence in the Asia-Pacific, thereby posing an existential threat to the DPRK. Carrying out provocative drills will only escalate tensions.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Seoul and Washington have demonstrated goodwill toward Pyongyang in the hopes of creating an environment conducive to disarmament talks for four years. However, as North Korea has failed to make good on its promises — resuming its missile tests and further developing its nuclear program — this course correction is necessary for the restoration of the readiness of the South and its allies for an attack from the North.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 17% chance that North Korea and South Korea will be recognized as a single sovereign state by 2045, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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