Huny Badger RIGHT WING TRIBUNE–
Hundreds of aircraft 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 and preparedness, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
The U.S. 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 U.S. military personnel are participating. In total, 230 aircraft will be flying at eight U.S. and South Korean military installations in the South, NBC reports.
Some local media report that B-1B bombers will also join aerial drills, but officials did not confirm their participation.
North Korea’s state media said the drill pushes the Korean Peninsula “to the brink of nuclear war.” Such language is typical in North Korean propaganda because the country claims U.S.-South Korean drills are preparation for invasion.
Still, always bad tensions are at a particularly dangerous point as North Korea edges toward its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped long-range missiles, and as President Donald Trump ramps up his rhetoric toward the North, threatening, for instance, to unleash “fire and fury” against the country.
Pyongyang will “seriously consider” countermeasures against the drill, and the U.S. and South Korea will “pay dearly for their provocations,” the Korean Central News Agency said on Sunday before the start of the exercises.
While many South Koreans typically ignore North Korea’s rhetoric, some senior American officials have expressed worry following the ICBM test, North Korea’s third.
On Sunday, Lindsey Graham, a Republican U.S. senator from the state of South Carolina, said he believes that it’s time for U.S. military families in South Korea to leave the country because conflict with North Korea is getting close.
Also on Sunday, the White House national security adviser said that Trump will take care of North Korean threats by “doing more ourselves.”
“The priorities that the president’s given us to move as quickly as we can to resolve this crisis with North Korea,” General H.R. McMaster told Fox News in an interview.
“If necessary, the president and the United States will have to take care of it, because he has said he’s not going to allow this murderous, rogue regime to threaten the United States.”
China has not enforced the U.N. and U.S. level of sanctions that the Trump administration has implemented against North Korea, possibly fearful of a humanitarian crisis at its border and a U.S.-backed unified Korea.
Referring to the this week’s military exercises, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “It is regrettable that all parties did not grasp the window of opportunity China had previously appealed for.”
China also opposes a U.S. anti-missile system deployed to South Korea. It says the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, better known as “THAAD,” could penetrate into its territory using the system’s powerful radar.
In a move that some analysts see, Russia is preparing for a conflict along their North Korean border, they say simply Russia’s way of enforcing that the United States uses conventional military tactics and not nuclear force.
Following North Korea’s declaration earlier this week that it now has nuclear capability to target the whole of the US, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has confirmed Russia is considering its options.
Huny Badger is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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