La Oferta

June 30, 2022

Seoul, Washington begin air maneuvers amid dialogue with Pyongyang

Seoul, May 11 (EFE).- South Korea and the United States on Friday kicked off large-scale annual joint air maneuvers, a month ahead of the planned summit between Washington and Pyongyang.

The annual two-week Max Thunder exercises are being held after Seoul and Washington postponed the dates of their other joint maneuvers, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, due to the inter-Korean summit in late April.

A US stealth fighter jet F-22 Raptor takes off from a South Korean air base in Gwangju, 329 kilometers southwest of Seoul, South Korea, 04 December 2017, as South Korea and the United States begin a five-day joint air force drill. The biannual Vigilant Ace exercise follows North Korea’s launch on 29 November of what appears to be its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile. EFE

The exercises will include some 100 fighters and bombers, and will deploy F-22 jets for the first time, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing sources from the country’s Ministry of Defense.

The objective of the maneuvers is to improve the aerial capabilities of the allies, at a time of detente on the Korean peninsula following Pyongyang’s historic decision to enter into dialogue with Seoul. This led to the historic inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in April.

Seoul and Washington decided to alter their plans for the annual maneuvers to favor the easing of tensions with North Korea.
Pyongyang used to condemn theses war games, considering them a rehearsal for invading its territory, and usually responded to the maneuvers with missile tests.

This year, during a meeting with South Korean officials in March the North Korean regime expressed its understanding of the need for Washington and Seoul to hold such exercises.

US President Donald Trump announced late Thursday that he will meet with the North Korean leader on June 12 in Singapore to discuss nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula.

This will be the first time that the leaders of North Korea and the United States have met face-to-face after almost 70 years of confrontation following the 1950-53 Korean War and 25 years of failed negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear development program.