U.S. and South Korea Start Air Force Drills Amid Heightened Tensions
Such drills have drawn vigorous criticism from North Korea, whose state news media said Sunday
that the latest exercises were pushing the Korean Peninsula “to the brink of nuclear war.” It warned that Pyongyang would “seriously consider” countermeasures against the drill and that the United States and South Korea would “pay dearly for their provocations,” the North’s Korean Central News Agency said.
HONG KONG — The United States and South Korea began large-scale combined air force drills Monday, with plans to carry out simulated strikes on North Korean nuclear
and missile testing sites, South Korean military officials said.
The drills will be conducted under wartime scenarios
that include attacks on mock North Korean nuclear and missile targets, South Korea’s military said.
North Korea’s missile launch last Tuesday came after more than a two-month lull in the country’s nuclear and missile testing, which raised some hopes
that it might be extending an olive branch to ease the hair-trigger military tensions on the peninsula.
The drills were part of an annual exercise that had been planned before North Korea conducted the missile test, officials said.
They come just a week after North Korea tested a missile that analysts said had the capability of reaching much of the continental United States.