Tensions rise ahead of S. Korea-U.S. annual military exercises

Tensions are brewing on the Korean Peninsula ahead of an annual South Korea-U.S. military exercise set to begin next week.
More than 200-thousand troops are participating in the two-week-long computerized command post exercise called Key Resolve and the field training drill named Foal Eagle that runs through April.
What’s different in this year’s drill is the participation of the U.S. coastal combat ship Fort Worth, designed to navigate shallow waters and carry helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Seoul and Washington maintain that these drills are defensive and non-provocative in nature, but to North Korea, they are seen as a rehearsal for war.
North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper said that with the drills, the “chance for dialogue or a diplomatic solution has already been lost. and what’s left is to respond militarily while strengthening deterrence to the maximum.”
While this tug of war is an annual occurrence, warnings from Pyongyang are not taken lightly as it’s acted upon various threats over the past two years.
In 2013, North Korea banned entry to South Koreans at the joint Kaeseong Industrial Complex due to Seoul and Washington’s joint military exercises.
And last March, it fired some 5-hundred rockets into the West Sea for the same reason.