Tuesday, May 15, 2018

North Korea Threatens To Cancel Summit Over U.S./South Korea Air Force Drills

North Korea has suspended talks with South Korea and declared that next month’s summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump could be cancelled over upcoming joint Air Force drills taking place in South Korea with the U.S. Air Force.

North Korea has always expressed displeasure at the annual joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises. But apparently, with the U.S. summit so close on the calendar, North Korea must have had different expectations this year.

From The Washington Post:

The South Korean and U.S. militaries had scaled back and played down the exercises, declining the news media the usual access to the drills. North Korea barely said a word about the drills during the computer simulation exercises that took place through April.

The two-week-long Max Thunder drills between the two countries’ Air Forces, an annual event that began on Friday, have, however, clearly struck a nerve in North Korea.

“This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” the North's Korean Central News Agency said in a report published early.

The Max Thunder exercise involves about 100 warplanes, including eight F-22 radar-evading fighters and an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets, according to the South’s main Yonhap News Agency. During last year's Max Thunder exercises, U.S. and South Korean fighter jets flew an average 60 sorties a day to showcase their firepower.

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