President Biden and his South Korean counterpart, President Yoon Suk Yeol, agreed to reignite discussion about restarting and possibly expanding previous joint military exercises between the two countries. While this was happening, North Korea had launched various missiles, including a suspected ICBM, to show their supposed military capabilities. The move from the US and South Korea comes as a direct response to the nuclear threat brewing in North Korea, which has been adamantly showing off its military arsenal for the past months.

In a joint statement, Biden and Yeol wrote that they have agreed to “initiate discussions to expand the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training on and around the Korean Peninsula.”

The announcement reflects a significant shift in the foreign policy positions of both leaders from their predecessors. Former President Donald Trump ordered scrapping the military exercise to cut costs, while former South Korean President Moon Jae-in focused his administration’s efforts on keeping dialogue with the North.

The two former administrations’ attempts appeared to show fruit after a series of successful diplomatic talks. It ended with Kim crossing over to the South for the first time in history and North Korea going on a self-imposed moratorium on its weapons testing.

President Biden with South Korean President Yoon during Biden's visit (President Biden). Source:
President Biden with South Korean President Yoon during Biden’s visit (President Biden/Twitter)

The event was celebrated as a huge diplomatic success for the region and the Trump administration. However, recent missile launches from the North prove that Kim’s gestures were insincere, and their weapon developments did not stop.

The rift in the Korean Peninsula in the aftermath of the Second World War birthed two drastically different Korean societies. South Korea developed into a prosperous democracy and has become a production hub for high-technology industries. However, in the North, the country is currently suffering from a coronavirus outbreak with its autocratic regime focused on waving its military stick rather than helping the sick people.

Despite its regime’s military escalations, Biden mentioned that the US had offered the North vaccines to help cull rising COVID-19 cases.

“Yes, we’ve offered vaccines, not only to North Korea but China as well,” Biden said at a press conference. “We’re prepared to do that immediately. We’ve gotten no response.”