Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

USA and South Korea Hold Large-Scale Military Exercises as War Fears Grow

USA and South Korea Hold Large-Scale Military Exercises as War Fears Grow

On Monday, the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) flew exercises in "routes and areas it has never flown before" over both the Yellow Sea that divides China and the Korean Peninsula as well as the East China Sea between China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The five-day drill is meant to improve the allies' wartime capabilities and preparedness, South Korea's defense ministry said.

The annual joint exercise, called "Vigilant Ace", has been created to enhance readiness and operational capability and to ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula, officials have said.

Officials in Pyongyang have described the exercises as the US president "begging for a nuclear war". 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.

F-35 fighters will also join the drill, which will also include the largest number of 5th generation fighters to take part, according to a South Korea-based U.S. Air Force spokesman.

A F-15 from Kadena Air Base, Japan, lands at Gwangju Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 01, 2017.

While we're at a point now where North Korean threats are as routine as the sunrise, China has sent an aggressive message in passive support of the belligerent state that warrants more serious attention.

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On Dec. 4, the USA and South Korea kicked off their largest joint air exercise yet, dubbed Vigilant Ace 18, involving hundreds of aircraft and tends of thousands of troops on the ground.

"I don't think you or anybody else is willing to bet the farm, or a US city on the decision-making-rational decision-making of Kim Jong Un", McMaster said.

But very few believe these, or other war games, will halt Kim Jong-un's quest to build a functioning nuclear-tipped rocket.

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.

There is also little hope that either the US or DPRK will accept China's proposal of halting war games in return for a halt to Pyongyang's weapons program, a policy known as 'freeze for freeze'. Is war with North Korea inevitable now?

The U.S. and China have a rocky history, but are far from going to blows.

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