While the US military aircraft conducted simulated strikes, the South Korean warplanes actually dropped MK-82 bombs.
With the recent launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile known as the Hwasong-15, it has become apparent to many observers that Pyongyang is not being dissuaded from abandoning its nuclear weapons program. The U.S. has not announced it. According to reports, the USA 7th Air Force deployed six F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighter jets for the exercise.
The exercises have been condemned as a provocation by the North Korean government. Chinese experts believe that this exercise targeted the Vigilant Ace-18 joint exercises launched by the South Korean and American air forces on December 4.
It also labeled Trump, who has threatened to destroy North Korea if the United States is threatened, "insane".
Imagine the following scenario: A "rogue" nation successfully tests a nuclear device, a divisive presidential administration weighs a military response in the USA, and as the threat of war looms, aggressive rhetoric spews from unpredictable leaders on both sides.
The drills come a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, as part of a weapons program that it has conducted in defiance of global sanctions and condemnation.
Seoul and Washington say the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is intended exclusively to counter missile threats from North Korea but Beijing sees it as a threat to its own military capabilities. The State Department said on Tuesday he was not carrying any message from Washington.
The U.S. should initially propose a freeze on nuclear and missile testing in exchange for economic and security assurances, such as building on the now-shuttered inter-Korean industrial park in North Korea's border city of Kaesong, he added.
USA military dependants in South Korea have been urged to head back to the states as suggested by Senator Lindsey Graham, who said the the conflict with the North was getting very close. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today.
The United States and South Korea have launched their biggest-ever joint air force exercise. China is North Korea's lone major ally and fears widespread instability on its border.
The drills, which were planned before last week's missile test, involve more than 230 warplanes and 12,000 soldiers and are the largest such exercises yet carried out between the two allies. The Pentagon said it has no plans to do so.
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