Key Resolve Kicks Off as North Korea Ratchets Up Rhetoric

US and South Korean forces on Monday kicked off the annual Key Resolve exercise on the Korean peninsula against the backdrop of increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un. Key Resolve, which runs through March 21, includes more than 3,000 US personnel and 10,000 South Korean troops honing their skills to defend South Korea against aggression, according to a March 11 Pentagon release. Official statements from North Korea stated that the communist regime has nullified the 60-year-old armistice that has kept the peace on the peninsula since 1953. The country’s leadership is reportedly angered by the tighter sanctions imposed last week by the United Nations in response to North Korea’s nuclear test in February. North Korean press on Monday reported that the armistice was now “dead paper.” North Korea also reportedly severed one of the government-to-government phone lines meant to diffuse tensions between North Korea and South Korea. (AFPS report by Donna Miles)