Japan and the US began some of their biggest military exercises ever today, conspicuously mobilizing more than 44,000 troops, 400 aircrafts, and a US supercarrier right under North Korea’s nose. These “keen sword” maneuvers are an annual exercise, but this year’s display is especially large, and for the first time includes South Korean observers. The subtext wasn’t lost on China, which criticized the countries for stirring the pot.
“There are already enough of these kinds of military exercises,” complained a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. “All relevant parties ought to do more to benefit the maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula … and not the opposite.” North Korea's state-run media has promised a full-scale war if any of the exercises spill into North Korean waters, the AP reports.