SEOUL (Reuters) – Two American B-1B heavy bombers joined large-scale combat drills over South Korea on Thursday amid warnings from North Korea that the exercises and U.S. threats have made the outbreak of war “an established fact”.
The annual U.S.-South Korean “Vigilant Ace” exercises feature 230 aircraft, including some of the most advanced U.S. stealth warplanes. They come a week after North Korea tested its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to date, which it says can reach all of the United States.
A spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry blamed the drills and “confrontational warmongering” by U.S. officials for making war inevitable.
“The remaining question now is: when will the war break out?” the spokesman said late on Wednesday in a statement carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency.
“We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it.”
China, North Korea’s neighbor and lone major ally, again urged calm and said war was not the answer.