March 20, 2018

Massive Chinese air drills warn U.S. 'not to provoke Pyongyang'

08 December 2017, 08:34 | Taylor George

Massive Chinese air drills warn U.S. 'not to provoke Pyongyang'

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho right and undersecretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman shake hands at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang North Korea on Thursday

Moscow also believes it is Washington's saber-rattling and regular military drills in the region that are "provoking Pyongyang into taking some rash action" after months of restraint, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following the country's latest ballistic missile test. Threats from various USA officials are serving the same goal, Lavrov added.

F-16 and A-10 aircraft were being relocated from Osan Air Base to the South Korean base at Gwangju "due to adverse weather conditions", while the F-35s and F-16s were moved to Gwangju due to a runway problem at Kunsan, the 7th Air Force public affairs office said in an email.

The supersonic jet departed from its base in the USA territory of Guam before joining two Japanese F-15 fighters and then took part in military drills on the Korean Peninsula along with Americans and South Korean fighter jets, Bloomberg reported.

A total of 12,000 U.S. service members are taking part in the annual Vigilant Ace drills alongside South Korean troops.

The exercises are part of an annual series of joint large-scale military exercises with South Korea that began on Monday, known as "Vigilante Ace", involving 230 aircraft and about 12,000 service members from both countries.

This handout taken and released by the South Korean Defence Ministry in Seoul on December 6, 2017 shows a US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber, two US F-35A and two US F-35B stealth jets flying over South Korea with South Korea's two F-16 and two F-15K fighter jets during a joint military drill.

"My biggest expectation for the Wing is to remove any "exercise" mindset from the equation and maximize the realism of every response". Some of the exercises reportedly involved the simulation wartime scenarios that include neutralizing North Korean nuclear and missile targets.

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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.

He also said the only remaining question is when war will break out, adding the country will make the US pay dearly with its own nuclear force.

Those areas overlap with Japanese and South Korean airspace.

North Korea regularly uses its state media to threaten the United States and its allies.

"And as you know, this is a regime that's never met a weapon that it hasn't proliferated". 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.

The U.S. -South Korea drills coincide with a rare visit to the isolated North by United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest.

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