Although Communist North Korea and the southern Republic of Korea confront one another across one of the most heavily militarized frontiers in the world, as late as 2013 this resulted in no more than an elaborate propaganda barrage mounted by the north — rhetoric rather than war. This is almost always the case when the United States stages annual military exercises with its ally, South Korea, which it is pledged to protect. When the United States flew two nuclear-capable B2 Stealth bombers over South Korea, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed he had ordered his missile batteries to prepare for nuclear strikes against the American mainland and its Pacific bases. None of this happened — in any case it is improbable that North Korea has the military hardware to carry out such a threat.
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