South Korean and US troops began naval drills today in a show of force partly directed at North Korea amid signs that Pyongyang will soon carry out its third atomic test. The US, South Korea, and other countries have urged North Korea to scrap its test plans or face grave consequences. North Korean state media has described the three days of drills—which involve a nuclear-powered American submarine, live-fire exercises, naval maneuvers, and submarine detection drills—as a joint exercise for a pre-emptive attack on the country.
South Korea insists that the exercises were scheduled before the threat of another nuclear test ever reared its head. Diplomats, meanwhile, are gearing up to find ways to persuade North Korea to scrap its nuclear test plans. New Secretary of State John Kerry and his South Korean counterpart held a telephone conversation last night and agreed to sternly deal with any possible nuclear provocation by North Korea.