Understanding the relationship
In media and policy circles there is a common perception that North Korean provocations are related to United States and Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises. A Beyond Parallel study of the period from 2005 to 2016 has found that U.S.-ROK military exercises do not provoke belligerence from North Korea, rather they have a “null effect.” If U.S.-DPRK bilateral relations were coded positively prior to the exercises, they remained positive during and after the exercises. If pre-exercise relations were coded negatively, then behavior by North Korea during and after the exercises continued to be negative.
The data collected shows that annual military exercises are not game changers in U.S.-North Korea relations. For more details on the study click here. To see a visual comparison of datasets on U.S.-ROK military exercises and North Korean provocations scroll below.
Victor Cha, Na Young Lee, and Andy Lim, “Understanding the Relationship between DPRK provocations and US-ROK Military Exercises, CSIS Beyond Parallel, http://beyondparallel.csis.org/dprk-provocations/