Seoul, Oct 18 (EFE).- South Korea and the US will carry out large-scale aerial maneuvers at the end of October, as confirmed today by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), at a time of special tension on the peninsula in the face of the possibility of North Korea carrying out a new nuclear test.
The so-called Comprehensive Combat Preparation Training, which will take place between October 31 and November 4, will involve the mobilization of almost 250 aircraft, including F-15, F-16 and also F-35 fighter jets. of last generation that Pyongyang considers one of the most threatening assets for its national defense – of both allied countries.
“This exercise, which has been held every year since 2015, serves to verify the combined wartime air operations performance of the ROK (official name of South Korea) and U.S. air forces and to improve combat readiness,” a military spokesman explained today at a press conference in Seoul.
In any case, this year’s Comprehensive Combat Preparation Training is reminiscent, due to the volume of assets to be deployed, of the “Vigilant ace” exercise, which was suspended in 2018 in order to favor then the diplomatic rapprochement between Seoul, Washington and Pyongyang.
The fact that the exercise is going to include the participation of American F-35 fighters also seems to be part of the so-called expanded deterrence.
The extended deterrence is a commitment made last May by Washington with Seoul that consists of sending US strategic assets to the Korean peninsula in a “coordinated manner and when necessary” based on the actions of the northern regime.
The exercise, in which Australia will also participate, comes at a time when Pyongyang has stepped up the number of weapons tests.
Last Friday, the North Korean army launched a ballistic missile (the ninth projectile it had fired in a period of 20 days) and also carried out aerial maneuvers and artillery fire along the inter-Korean border in response to live-fire exercises in Seoul.
North Korea, which has been completely isolated from the outside since the start of the pandemic and approved a weapons modernization plan in 2021, has refused to resume dialogue with the South or the US and, according to satellites, has been prepared for months to carry out a new atomic test in Punggye-ri (northeast), which would be the first since 2017.