Hundreds of aircrafts including two dozen stealth jets began training Monday as the United States and South Korea launched their biggest-ever combined air force exercise. The war games come a week after North Korea test-fired its most powerful missile ever, an ICBM that may be able to target the eastern seaboard of the United States. The five-day drill, which is called Vigilant Ace, is meant to improve the allies wartime capabilities, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
The US Seventh Air Force sent major strategic military assets that include six F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighter jets for the annual training exercise in the Korean Peninsula. About 12,000 US military personnel are participating. Some local media report that B-1B bombers will also join aerial drills, but officials could not confirm the reports.
North Korea’s state media said the joint drill pushes the Korean Peninsula “to the brink of nuclear war.” Such language is typical in North Korean propaganda because the country sees U.S.-South Korean drills, which are held regularly, as preparation for invasion.