China, Russia Stage Drills to Counter S.Korea-US Exercise

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho right and undersecretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman shake hands at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang North Korea on Thursday

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho right and undersecretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman shake hands at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang North Korea on Thursday

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

"Through the exercise, the South Korean and US air forces have demonstrated the alliance's strong will and capability for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats", the South Korean military said in the statement, adding that the exercise also improved the two air forces' readiness to deploy "a rapid response force".

State of the art F-22 stealth fighters prepare took off as part of the Vigilant Ace drills being conducted by the United States and South Korea.

The drills come a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, as part of a weapons programme that it has conducted in defiance of worldwide sanctions and condemnation.

With each passing day, tensions flare anew on the Korean Peninsula.

The North's KCNA state news agency, citing a foreign ministry spokesman, also said on Saturday the Trump administration was "begging for nuclear war by staging an extremely unsafe nuclear gamble on the Korean peninsula". The exercise provides realistic air combat training for the United States and Republic of Korea, testing and refining the readiness and interoperability of US-ROK forces to deter aggression and provide a rapid response to attack.

Aircraft taking part will be flown from eight USA and South Korean military installations. The exercises have been condemned as a provocation by the isolated North.

On Wednesday, a B-1B bomber was joined by F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters for what South Korea's joint chiefs of staff referred to as simulated strikes at a military field.

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 United States 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. The State Department said on Tuesday he was not carrying any message from Washington.

"Series of violent war remarks coming from the USA high-level politicians amid such circumstances have made an outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula an established fact", the spokesperson said.

"If "freeze for freeze" is going to work, then North Korea has to accept the verification process", Woo said.

The military exercises, called "Vigilant Ace", are created to enhance joint readiness and operational capability of USA extended deterrence, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

North Korean state media - which describes the B-1B Lancer as a nuclear strategic bomber - denounced the exercise over the weekend.

The war planes are participating in the annual military exercise known as Vigilant Ace, but the Air Force said flying operations weren't disrupted by the move. China is North Korea's lone major ally and fears widespread instability on its border.

Russia has communication channels open with North Korea and Moscow is ready to exert its influence on Pyongyang, RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov as saying on Tuesday. The start was given only a week after the DPRK conducted a new intercontinental ballistic missile test.

There is also little hope that either the USA 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'.

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