World

South Korea, US kick off large-scale air exercise amid North Korean warnings

South Korea, US kick off large-scale air exercise amid North Korean warnings

PLAAF spokesman Shen Jinke said that such exercises will be a regular occurrence in the future.

The drills follow reports last week that North Korea had successfully conducted another ballistic missile launch across Japan as the country continues to pursue its nuclear ambitions, as it continues to threaten both the USA and South Korea with wholesale nuclear destruction.

On Dec. 4, the US and South Korea kicked off their largest joint air exercise yet, dubbed Vigilant Ace 18, involving hundreds of aircraft and tends of thousands of troops on the ground.

Japan is said to have expressed interest in Lockheed Martin's Joint Air-to-Surface Missile, which can strike targets on the Korean peninsula from 600 miles away. "We will ensure we have no regrets if we find ourselves executing contingency operations".

U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets take part in a joint aerial drills called Vigilant Ace between U.S and South Korea, at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.




Those areas overlap with Japanese and South Korean airspace. That exercise, which involved F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters, 12,000 United States soldiers, and even B-1B strategic bombers that could be equipped with a nuclear bomb, has been decried by North Korea as "begging for nuclear war".

The United States and South Korea deployed THAAD, a USA missile defense system, that is strongly opposed in Beijing.

"If "freeze for freeze" is going to work, then North Korea has to accept the verification process", Woo said. "Its intentions are to use that weapon for nuclear blackmail, and then, to, quote, you know, "reunify" the peninsula under the red banner".

China and Russian Federation had proposed that the United States and South Korea stop major military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programs. That led to events such as the Able Archer incident in 1983 where the Kremlin mistook a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise as preparations to launch a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union-the closest Washington and Moscow ever came to World War III. The aircraft participating in the exercises are simulating the destruction of the DPRK's nuclear and missile facilities, as well as mobile rocket launchers.


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