Alwaght- Hundreds of American and South Korean warplanes participated on Monday in joint air force drills ignoring warnings from South Korea to avoid more provocations.
Yonhap news agency citing South Korea’s defense ministry reported that Vigilant Ace 18 drills, which are of a purely “defensive nature,” will see hundreds of US and South Korea’s aircraft honing their skills by attacking mock North Korean nuclear and missile objects in different war time scenarios. They will for the first time feature six F-22 Raptor stealth jets, that arrived to South Korea specifically for the war games along with six F-35As stealth jets.
Part of the US force taking part in the wargames, including a dozen of F-35B stealth jets, will fly from a Japanese airbase, where they have been stationed.
The drills come a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US as part of a weapons program that it has conducted in defiance of international sanctions.
The large-scale maneuvers, reportedly “the largest-ever combined air force drills between the allies” will also involve dozens of other fighter jets on both sides, as well as American B-1B Lancer strategic bombers and carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft.
A total of 12,000 personnel and over 230 military aircraft will be engaged in the drills, that will run to December 8.
"The Trump team is begging for nuclear war by staging an extremely dangerous nuclear gamble on the Korean peninsula," North Korea’s Foreign Ministry stated in a statement on Saturday.
Seoul rejected the accusations, insisting its massive drills with US is “an annual joint military exercise among the allies of a defense nature,” Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman of South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said on Monday, as cited by Yonhap.
He added that Seoul would seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis together with international community.