Scheduled for a long time, the exercises involve 230 fighter planes and 1200 soldiers. In an unusual move, the US military released the list of fighter planes and the number of soldiers employed in the drills. The North promises "greater and terrible reprisals" for South’s self-destruction.
Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - South Korea and the United States this morning began joint air combat exercises despite the threats of the North. The US has deployed at least 24 jets invisible to the radar.
The exercises ("Vigilant air combat exercise") come less than a week from yet another intercontinental ballistic launch by the North, which claims to be able to hit every point of the United States.
According to experts, these exercises are the most extensive so far, involving more than 230 fighter planes and 1200 soldiers. The Seoul Ministry of Defence has explained that they aim to "improve combined air operations under all weather, both day and night".
In an unusual move, the US military released the list of fighter planes and the number of soldiers employed in the drills. According to unconfirmed rumors, some fighter jets will remain in the South after training.
The Seoul Ministry for Unification has specified that these exercises are "defensive in nature" and do not aim - as accused by the North - to increase tension in the peninsula. They had been planned for a long time and are not in response to Pyongyang's missile launches.
The North Korean Communist Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, denounces that Seoul and Washington are dragging the Korean peninsula "to the brink of nuclear war".
Even the Northern Committee for the peaceful reunification of the nation, an organization that deals with relations between Pyongyang and Seoul, states that "The U.S. and south Korean puppet military warmongers should bear in mind that their escalating provocation and adding to crimes will only invite more terrible retaliation and precipitate their self-destruction”.