US and South Korea Begin Massive “Vigilant Storm” Aerial War Games
Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute
(October 31, 2022) — Washington and Seoul’s advanced warplanes kicked off five days of round-the-clock military exercises on Sunday. Pyongyang slammed the war games and suggested it would deliver a “more powerful” response.
This year’s edition of the annual war games “Vigilant Storm” is the largest ever. A Pentagon press release said, “Vigilant Storm 23 was designed to practice wartime missions, roles and tasks in effort to enhance the combat readiness and survivability of US and [South Korean] forces.”
The aerial drills will include nearly 100 American warplanes that will join 140 South Korean aircraft and an Australian refueling tanker.
On Monday, North Korea demanded the US and South Korea scrap the war games. Pyongyang denounced the joint drills as a “rehearsal for invasion and proof of hostile policies by Washington and Seoul.”
“The situation in the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity has entered the serious confrontation phase of power for power again due to the ceaseless and reckless military moves of the US and South Korea,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said.
Military activity on the Korean Peninsula has slowly increased since President Donald Trump demanded North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons during the Hanoi summit in 2019. The pace has swiftly accelerated since Joe Biden took over the White House and hardened Washington’s posture toward Pyongyang.
The Vigilant Storm war games started as South Korea concluded its annual 12-day Hoguk 22 field exercises on Friday. In August, Washington and Seoul conducted joint, live-fire war games for the first time in several years. In 2022, North Korea conducted a record 26 missile tests. Pyongyang claims its military activity is a response to Washington and Seoul’s aggressive stance.
7th Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Kelley Jeter told Stars and Stripes the training was planned months in advance and is “part of what a professional military does.”
Commenting on Vigilant Storm, Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said, “[i]f the US continuously persists in the grave military provocations, the DPRK will take into account more powerful follow-up measures.” Adding, North Korea is “ready to take all necessary measures for defending its sovereignty, people’s security and territorial integrity from outside military threats.”
Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, assistant editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter.
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