The North Korean regime of dictator Kim Jong-un is planning a large scale military exercise near the capital at Pyongyang, according to a source in the South Korean government. The exercise may be designed to convince North Koreans that its recent military posturing has put an end to US-led drills along its border with the south.
The unnamed South Korean source suggested that the north may test its short range missiles during the exercise, set to take place near the western port of Nampo.
North Korea's show of force would come at an inopportune time, as much of its army is currently occupied with spring farming. The north faces a severe food shortage, and has reached out to Mongolia for food aid.
Dictator Kim has claimed that the United States' joint drills with South Korean forces, along with recent US support for United Nations sanctions against the regime, are signals of an imminent American invasion of the north. In March, Kim declared war against the south, and threatened nuclear missile strikes against the United States and Japan.
The regime has also arrested and threatened to execute an American tour operator, 44-year-old Kenneth Bae, charging the US citizen with “crimes aimed to topple the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.” Kim has ignored American calls to release Bae.
While the US government has responded to North Korea's provocations with an increase in military activity along the border, its official position is that Kim seeks to shore up his internal political power, and does not seek a genuine conflict.