The U.S. and South Korea announced Friday they will conduct a massive air force exercise over the Korean Peninsula next month as a notable show of force targeting North Korea—despite warnings that the Trump administration’s decision earlier this week to add North Korea to the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism could further provoke the isolated country.
Six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters—which are among the world’s most advanced warplanes—will be sent to South Korea for the drill, a U.S. Air Force spokesman told AFP, which reports:
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Reuters reports that U.S. Marine Corps and Navy troops will also participate in the exercise.
Although the drill is conducted annually, it comes as U.S. President Donald Trump continues to antagonize North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the world stage.
As Common Dreams reported this week, after Trump designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday, the North Korean Central News Agency called the decision a “serious provocation,” and warned that “our army and people are full of rage and anger toward the heinous gangsters” who made the decision.
Concerns about the escalating conflict, and the Trump administration’s vocal opposition to engaging in diplomatic discussions with North Korea, continue to rise in the U.S. as well as among North Korea’s neighbors, particularly South Korea. When Trump visited Asia earlier this month, South Koreans greeted him with massive protests—denouncing him as a “war-threatening, weapons salesman”—while Pyongyang claimed the president “begged for war” during his trip.
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