North Korea As Pretext: U.S. Builds Asian Military Alliance Against China And Russia
On December 1 the U.S. and its South Korean military ally completed four days of naval maneuvers in the Yellow Sea where China claims a 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group
The war games, which included live-fire shooting and bombing drills, were the latest in a series of U.S.-led military exercises in South Korea and the seas to its east and west beginning in July of this year:
In August the U.S. and South Korea conducted this year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercise, the world's largest command and control simulation drill, in the latter country with 30,000 U.S. and 56,000 South Korean troops participating.
In early September Washington and Seoul held an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the Yellow Sea with two U.S. guided missile destroyers and a fast attack submarine and two South Korean destroyers.
Only the August exercise was a routine one, the latest in a series of Ulchi Freedom Guardian maneuvers held over several decades.
On the day the most recent military exercise ended, December 1, it was announced that the U.S. and South Korea will hold another military exercise this month.  The following day "South Korea...readied plans for more live-fire drills as a warning to North Korea and scheduled talks with the United States and Japan on dealing with [North Korea]...."  The armed forces of the Republic of Korea will begin five days of artillery drills on December 6 in 29 locations, including on border islands in the Yellow Sea.
Just as Russia and China were excluded from the U.S.-led investigation of the Cheonan sinking earlier this year, so now they are being brushed aside in favor of a confrontational U.S.-Japan-South Korea initiative.
Two days after the American-led naval exercise in the Yellow Sea concluded, the U.S. began a week-long exercise with Japan off the second nation's islands near the South Korean coast. The war games, Keen Sword 2011, involve 60 warships, 400 aircraft and 44,000 troops and are the largest-ever joint U.S.-Japan military drills. Kyodo News disclosed that "The maneuvers will be carried out to practice for guarding against ballistic missile attacks and for defending remote Japanese islands," the latter an allusion to a Chinese-Japanese territorial dispute in the East China Sea. Standard Missile-3 interceptors on U.S. and Japanese Aegis class destroyers deployed in the Sea of Japan and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missiles currently stationed at bases from the north to the south of Japan, Hokkaido to Okinawa, will be employed.