A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter aircraft, assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron, taxis down a runway during Exercise VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 3, 2017. USA and Korean forces have been preparing the for Vigilant Ace for weeks.
Two B-1B Lancer strategic bombers on Thursday conducted drills on the western coast of the Korean peninsula, a South Korean military officer confirmed to NK News.
The Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily said on Friday that the Chinese military staged live-fire exercises for four days in the East China Sea, adding that the China Maritime Safety Administration banned vessel traffic in the region from six a.m. Wednesday to six p.m. Saturday.
North Korea alleged last week that it had successfully conducted another ICBM launch, shortly before once again threatening nuclear destruction for both South Korea and the United States.
The South Korean army is reportedly on course to launch a combat unit consisting of drone bots sometime next year, in a move that signals a new era of drone bots in the military.
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The military exercises, called "Vigilant Ace", are created to enhance joint readiness and operational capability of USA extended deterrence, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. The exercises were also attended by South Korean Air Force F-15Ks and KF-16s.
It also labelled Trump, who has threatened to destroy North Korea if the United States is threatened, "insane".
But this time the drill coincided with a massive 230-aircraft joint exercise being held between South Korea and the United States nearby on the Korean peninsula. F-22 Raptors, F-35 Lightning IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-15 Eagles, F/A-18 Hornets and EA-18G Growlers will be flying alongside South Korean F-15K Slam Eagles and F-4 Phantom IIs during the wargame under realistic wartime conditions. During the Cold War, Soviet doctrine-which North Korean doctrine is based on-called for snap exercises to provide cover for mobilization efforts to go to war.
The North has warned the drills would push the Korean peninsula to "the brink of nuclear war".
Russia has communication channels open with North Korea and Moscow is ready to exert its influence on Pyongyang, RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov as saying on Tuesday. Lindsey Graham's suggestion South Korea is now too risky to let American families remain there - and has no plan to begin evacuations, Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.