Following the launch of the “largest ever” US-South Korean aerial military drills, and Pyongyang’s latest, most impressive, missile test, the Russian foreign ministry issued a warning that “the situation on the Korean Peninsula is on the brink of war,” adding that “Kim seeks to raise the stakes before any talks.”
The US and South Korea launched their largest aerial drills yet on Monday, less than a week after North Korea tested its new Hwasong-15 missile which military observers said has the capacity to strike Washington DC, or nearly any other location in the continental US. The launched shattered nearly two months of calm as many suspected the North’s benefactors in China were making good on their promises to rein in the restive state’s belligerent behavior.
As we reported Sunday, the annual US-South Korean drills, called Vigilant Ace, will run until Friday. Six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters will be deployed among the more than 230 aircraft taking part. The North has condemned the exercises as yet another provocation.
F-35 fighters will also participate in the drill, which will involve the largest number of 5th generation fighters, according to a South Korea-based US Air Force spokesman quoted by Reuters.
Around 12,000 US troops, including the Marines and Navy, will join South Korean troops. Aircraft participating in the drills will take off from eight different US and South Korean military installations.
And now Interfax reports that, amid concerns that war is inevitable, the Russian foreign ministry has offered to facilitate dialogue between North Korea and The US:
We have open channels of communication with DPRK, ready to use our influence on Pyongyang.
Washington needs to work out security assurances for DPRK to get Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.
Russia assigns blame equally for the rising tensions to Korea’s nuclear missile tests and joint US-South Korea drills.
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