The United States further intensified what has been described as one of its largest-ever aerial military exercises on Wednesday by flying a B-1B supersonic bomber over South Korea’s eastern coast, where it conducted bombing drills that North Korea warned are “simulating an all-out war.”
(CD) According to Reuters, “the bomber flew from the Pacific U.S.-administered territory of Guam and joined U.S. F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters.” The supersonic bomber was just one of 230 aircraft set to be deployed over the next five days.
The massive show of force—which came just a week after North Korea successfully tested its most powerful missile yet—was part of a joint exercise with South Korea that takes place annually.
This year’s simulations, however, have taken on new significance, as U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have continued to trade barbs and exchange threats of nuclear destruction.
As Common Dreams reported on Monday, North Korea denounced the military exercises—formally titled “Vigilant Ace”—as a “major provocation” that pushes the world “to the brink of nuclear war.”
Pyongyang ramped up its criticism of the U.S.-South Korea operations in a statement issued on Tuesday through its official Korean Central News Agency, calling the drills a manifestation of America’s “extremely reckless war hysteria.”
“U.S. imperialists are staging an ultra-precision strike drill with high intensity just like in a real war focused on ‘removing’ the DPRK’s state leadership and core facilities by massively introducing the ultramodern stealth fighters,” the statement read.
The North went on to conclude that thanks to continued provocations by the U.S., “a grave situation is prevailing in the Korean Peninsula that a nuclear war may break out any moment.”
Military exercises are just one way in which the U.S. is continuing to fuel nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Last week, as Common Dreams reported, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pressured China to cut off its oil shipments to Pyongyang and threatened that North Korea would be “utterly destroyed” if war breaks out.