Research Note War Games: North Korea’s Reaction to American and South Korean Military Exercises
Journal of East Asian Studies, Forthcoming
33 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2011 Last revised: 15 Feb 2012
Date Written: February 10, 2012
Since 1976, the militaries of the United States and South Korea have been holding routine joint military exercises (JMEs) for the purposes of military training and deterrence against North Korea. These exercises are frequently cited as a cause of tension on the peninsula, causing North Korea to escalate its conflictual rhetoric and behavior. I empirically assess this claim using new data on USA-ROK JMEs and machine-coded event data collected by the Integrated Crisis Early Warning System (O’Brien 2010). The findings show that North Korea does not systematically escalate its conflictual rhetoric or behavior during or near the occurrence of JMEs. The results hold for both low- and high-intensity exercises and for rhetoric that has the United States and South Korea as its target.
Keywords: joint military exercise, conflict, deterrence, escalation, event data, North Korea
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