China Launches Their Own Air Exercises to Counter US/South Korea Drill

Massive Chinese air drills warn US 'not to provoke Pyongyang'

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The exercise marks the second time this week that the USA has dispatched the aircraft as part of Vigilant Ace. The U.S. Air Force spokesman could not confirm the reports.

Exercise Vigilant Ace 18 runs from Monday to Friday, and includes 12,000 United States personnel along with airmen with the Republic of Korea Air Force.

South Korea and the United States launched large-scale joint aerial drills on Monday, officials said, a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced missile as part of a weapons program that has raised global tensions.

"The threat here on the peninsula is very real, and countering that threat needs to be in the forefront of our minds", 51st Fighter Wing Commander Col. William Betts said in a release.

China and Russian Federation have staged massive military drills in airspace and waters near the Korean Peninsula to counter a big U.S. 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.

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South Korean government officials, including President Moon Jae-in, have said the North's latest ICBM is their most capable yet, although it has several critical points to prove, such as re-entry technology and terminal stage guidance.

The United States and South Korea deployed THAAD, a US missile defense system, that is strongly opposed in Beijing.

During the Korean War that began in 1950 and is still technically ongoing, China came to the aid of the communist Northern Korean factions against the USA and their Southern allies, repaying the fledgling North's contribution to their own civil war, which the Chinese Communist Party had only won the previous year with Korean communist help. North Korea labelled the drill an "all-out provocation", days after the communist nation fired its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile. That led to events such as the Able Archer incident in 1983 where the Kremlin mistook a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise as preparations to launch a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union-the closest Washington and Moscow ever came to World War III. Their exercise was simulated to target key North Korean facilities including nuclear and missile sites.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest.

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