Seoul, Washington hold air drills with bombers, stealth fighters

Seoul, Feb 2 (EFE).- South Korea and the United States have held combined air drill, using US B-1B strategic bombers and F-22 and F-35B stealth fighters, the South Korean Defense Ministry confirmed on Thursday.

“This joint air exercise demonstrates the US will and ability to provide strong and credible extended deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” the ministry said in a statement.

These first joint exercises of the year took place on Wednesday in the Yellow Sea to improve the allies’ “combined operational capability and interoperability” and also involved the South’s F-35A fighter jets.

Seoul noted that the drills were in line with an agreement between the two countries to deploy strategic assets in a “timely and coordinated” manner, and that they were “the result of the strong determination of both countries to guarantee the safety of the country and people in the face of any provocation by North Korea as an ‘alliance in action.’”

In November, the US deployed B-1 strategic bombers to the Korean Peninsula for the first time since 2017, when the tension between Pyongyang and Washington reached dangerous levels.

The exercises come days after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to Seoul, where he pledged to strengthen the extended deterrence commitment against the North Korean threat through close communications, deployment of strategic assets and trilateral cooperation with Japan.

This visit comes after a year in which North Korea carried out a record number of weapons tests, around 50, and in which tension on the Korean Peninsula has reached new highs. EFE


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