November 25th, 2010
12:05 PM ET

Will it deter or provoke North Korea?


The USS George Washington is America’s massive nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. And it’s on its way to the Yellow Sea, not far from the site of Tuesday’s deadly clash between North and South Korea.

The carrier is heading toward the south of Yeonpyeong Island for long-planned U.S.-South Korea joint exercises that are set to start in the coming days.

The North Koreans have already denounced the upcoming drill, saying that the North will launch an additional attack on South Korea if it continues “reckless military provocation.”  North Korea indirectly referred to the planned U.S.-South Korea military drill as an example of provocation.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN that the drills are “meant to send a very strong signal of deterrence and also work with our very close allies in South Korea.”

“We’re very focused on restraint – not letting this thing get out of control,” Mullen said.

But the Chinese don’t see it that way. 

The North Korean ally expressed “concern” over the exercises.  The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced, "We oppose any act that undermines peace and stability on the peninsula.”

So will the military exercises deter or provoke?  The world awaits Pyongyang’s response… as the USS George Washington makes its way to South Korea.