The emphasis is on antisubmarine warfare with ships and planes looking for dummy targets similar to the midget submarine that an investigation, led by South Korea and including experts from the US, Britain, Australia, and Sweden, concluded had fired the torpedo that split the Cheonan in two. North Korea continues to deny any role in the attack, in which 46 sailors were killed, but has said it wants to talk about it with investigators.
After the war games are done on Wednesday, all sides are expected to turn to the possibility of negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear program.
“[The North Koreans] are very distressed by these exercises,” says Mr. Choi, “but they’ve already said they’re going to resume six-party talks [with US, China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea]. That’s what they want. They do not want war.”
But the North Koreans have made clear that they are not going to go along with demands to get rid of their nuclear program even if they return to the table. North Korea has called for “denuclearization” of the entire Korean peninsula – a term that is likely to include banning all nuclear arms from US ships in the Pacific and even banning nuclear-powered vessels such as the George Washington.