US, Japan and S. Korea hold first-ever joint drills

Lazy eyes listen


The United States, South Korea, and Japan have conducted their first-ever joint aviation exercises, according to the South Korean military.

The exercise, which took place off the Korean Peninsula, aimed at strengthening the three countries’ ability to resist North Korea’s alleged nuclear and missile threats, according to a statement from South Korea’s Air Force. The exercises included at least one nuclear-capable US B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber, as well as South Korean and Japanese fighter fighters to accompany it.

The trilateral drills came as North Korea has blasted the stationing of an American nuclear-capable bomber in the South earlier this week. If a full-fledged conflict breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, the aircraft will be among the “first targets for destruction.”

“The United States will not be unaware of the fact that the Korean Peninsula is legally at war, and that strategic assets contributing to the enemy’s territory will be the first targets for destruction,” Pyongyang said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday. According to Pyongyang, Washington’s actions essentially provoke nuclear war.

The United States, for its part, maintained that the deployment of nuclear-capable aircraft was intended to demonstrate Washington’s “commitment to the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific region,” as well as to strengthen ties with its regional partners.

US President Joe Biden met South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Camp David in August. During the summit, Biden committed to strengthen military ties between the countries, while the three leaders took barbs at Pyongyang and blasted China’s claimed “dangerous and aggressive behaviour” in the region. The three countries also agreed to hold yearly military drills and to build a framework for real-time data sharing on North Korean missile launches by the end of the year.