US Warplanes Show Military Force Following North Korea Missile Tests

Putin and Xi

Putin and Xi

The newly proposed combat unit will take on a number of tasks including monitoring and patroling high-payoff targets like senior North Korean military officials and weapons of mass destruction, and attacking them in case of an emergency to minimize casualties, the source said.

The exercise was part of five-day-long air force annual exercise known as Vigilant Ace that started Monday in which 230 aircrafts are taking part in simulated strikes over South Korea. 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. During the Cold War, Soviet doctrine-which North Korean doctrine is based on-called for snap exercises to provide cover for mobilization efforts to go to war.

The B-1B bomber and F-22 Raptors conducted simulated bombing drills, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, quoting a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, adding that several American F-35 stealth jets and F-16 fighters and South Korean F-15Ks and KF-16s joined the exercise at the Pilsung firing range in the northeastern Gangwon province.

"Through the exercise, the South Korean and USA air forces have demonstrated the alliance's strong will and capability for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats", the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The annual joint exercise, called "Vigilant Ace", has been created to enhance readiness and operational capability and to ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula, officials have said. The aircraft arrived to Gwangju to participate in Vigilant Ace-18, a routine exercise on interoperability.


The U.S. Air Force has said the size of this year's drill is "comparable" to previous years.

But very few believe these, or other war games, will halt Kim Jong-un's quest to build a functioning nuclear-tipped rocket.

The drills come a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile ever in defiance of worldwide sanctions and condemnation. North Korea's increasing nuclear and missile capability would top the agenda, it said.

There is also little hope that either the USA or DPRK will accept China's proposal of halting war games in return for a halt to Pyongyang's weapons program, a policy known as 'freeze for freeze'.

The threats come a week after North Korea's latest launch of an ICBM, which is believed to be capable of striking anywhere in the USA mainland.

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