US And South Korea To Conduct Massive Air Force Exercise Aimed At North Korea


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:

The massive five-day annual exercise comes as Washington pushes what President Donald Trump has called a “maximum pressure campaign” against Pyongyang over its nuclear program.


The exercise, named Vigilant Ace, starts on December 4 with 12,000 U.S. personnel and an unspecified number of South Korean airmen flying more than 230 aircraft at eight U.S. and South Korean military bases.

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.


Justin Case Crazy Or Not Sun, 11/26/2017 - 10:04 Permalink

US media of course leaves out this entire chain of events. Korea’s leadership agreed not to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for food for their starving population, as well as other humanitarian support, in a time of mass starvation. US leaders did not fulfill their promises. Very little food and heating gas was ever delivered. In this context, is it a surprise, or a moral outrage that North Korea would also drop its end of the bargain, and go ahead and pursue nukes? Does such an action really fit the narrative of a “rogue state” lead by “insane” leaders bent on destroying the planet?When a few basic facts are mentioned, the entire narrative and perception of North Korea falls apart. The DPRK hasn’t always had mass starvation, and according to even rather hostile sources like BBC and the Council on Foreign Relations, its economic system was quite successful at one time. Furthermore, the DPRK developed Nuclear Weapons only in response to the failure US leaders to fulfill their obligations under a negotiated agreement. They were promised certain things in exchange for not developing nuclear weapons. They did not get those things, so they went ahead did it.These facts are conveniently forgotten in any discussion of the DPRK, but they are highly relevant to understanding the country and its relationship with the world. While ignoring important aspects of reality, these news sources talk of “fake news” and urge us to listen exclusively to them? That’s probably not a good idea, especially for those who want peace.

In reply to by Crazy Or Not

Never One Roach Sun, 11/26/2017 - 09:03 Permalink

People in SK along that border might find a suitable "safe space" just in case. However, my friend there says very few in SK are worried since they are pretty used to all these threats from NK.

Musum Sun, 11/26/2017 - 09:19 Permalink

Absolute insanity. They call what we do "drills" and "exercises". They call what they do "provocations". We demand that they stop their destabilizing provocations. We have no intentions of freezing drills and exercises because it's supposed to ensure stability in the region.

Justin Case Racer Sun, 11/26/2017 - 10:02 Permalink

70 years after World War II, Jews and former citizens of the Soviet Union still remember the terror and atrocities carried out on them by the nazi regime. The Nuremberg trials imposed the death sentence to many of those nazi war criminals. Why haven't there been war crimes tribunals been established to hold the soldiers accountable who carried out the massacres against the North Korean people between 1950-1953?It is obligatory that the horror suffered by North Koreans, the murders and tortures inflicted upon them by American soldiers be acknowledged and compensated for like any other crimes against humanity.There were anywhere between 3 to 4 million Koreans killed during the U.S. invasion between 1950-1953. Every town in North Korea was reduced to ashes, by saturation bombing, napalm and germ warfare. Korean prisoners were used as human guinea pigs to test new forms of germ weaponry, in complete violation of the Geneva conventions.

In reply to by Racer

Justin Case turbojarhead Sun, 11/26/2017 - 10:27 Permalink

Supreme Court Justice William O.Douglas visited Korea in the summer of 1952 and was stunned by the “misery, disease, pain and suffering, starvation” that had been “compounded” by air strikes. U.S. warplanes, having run out of military targets, had bombed farms, dams, factories, and hospitals. “I had seen the war-battered cities of Europe,” the Supreme Court justice confessed, “but I had not seen devastation until I had seen Korea.”Secretary of State Dean Rusk who was a State Department official in charge of Far Eastern affairs during the Korean War, would later admit that the United States bombed “every brick that was standing on top of another, everything that moved.” American pilots, he noted, “were just bombing the heck out of North Korea.”How many Americans are taught in school about the Bodo League massacre of tens of thousands of suspected communists on the orders of the U.S.-backed South Korean strongman, President Syngman Rhee, in the summer of 1950? Eyewitness accounts suggest “jeeploads” of U.S. military officers were present and “supervised the butchery.”Millions of ordinary Americans may suffer from a toxic combination of ignorance and amnesia, but the victims of U.S. coups, invasions, and bombing campaigns across the globe tend not to. Ask the Iraqis or the Iranians, ask the Cubans or the Chileans. And, yes, ask the North Koreans.

In reply to by turbojarhead

Justin Case Justin Case Sun, 11/26/2017 - 10:37 Permalink

One man with evident integrity and unwilling to let the truth be buried is Dave Chaddock. His book, This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since, is a superb exercise in historical rebuttal. The falsifications and lies and secrets propounded by the U.S. on the issue of its crimes has been going on for decades now. For instance, the U.S. populace did not learn of its government’s post-war deal with Nazis, or its amnesty of the Japanese Imperial Army’s Unit 731, until nearly 40 years had passed from the time of these events. If the book seems partisan at times, it is understandably the passion of someone outraged at what he has discovered — just as many who have served in America’s imperial wars returned home outraged, and too often broken, by what they had seen and endured.

In reply to by Justin Case

moneybots Justin Case Sun, 11/26/2017 - 11:33 Permalink

"How many Americans are taught in school about the Bodo League massacre of tens of thousands of suspected communists on the orders of the U.S.-backed South Korean strongman, President Syngman Rhee, in the summer of 1950?" In the summer of 1950, South Korea was fighting for its life. Kim Il sung invaded on June 25th. Later that summer, South Korea consisted of only the Pusan Perimeter.

In reply to by Justin Case

Justin Case moneybots Sun, 11/26/2017 - 11:56 Permalink

The US felt able to leave South Korea in 1948 because they had installed the US educated Syngman Rhee as dictator. He ruled as dictators do, killing, jailing or driving into exile tens of thousands of his political opponents.Rhee was finally overthrown in a popular revolution in 1960. In scenes later to be replicated in Saigon in 1975, he was plucked from his palace by a CIA helicopter who ferried him to safety while the crowds converged on the palace.Rhee also had ambitions to forcefully bring about the reunification of the two parts of Korea. Thanks to the scholarship revealed in Professor Bruce Cumings’ two volume history of the Korean War we now know that the standard western line about the Korean War starting with an invasion of the South by troops from the North is at best an approximation of the true history of the conflict. The truth is considerably more complicated.For years preceding the Northern troops crossing the border in July 1950, Rhee had been staging incursions into the north, carrying out killings, sabotage and other forms of asymmetrical warfare. On the island of Cheju-do for example, as many as 60,000 people were murdered by Rhee’s military forces.What is scarcely acknowledged in the west was the devastation the Korean War wrought upon the North. The US led UN Command dropped more bombs on the north than the US had dropped in the whole Pacific theatre in World War 2. This included the dropping of 20,000 tonnes of napalm, a particularly gruesome way of killing people. This method was later used to equally horrific effect in Vietnam.We now also know that the US waged bacteriological warfare, building upon Japanese expertise garnered in their war on China and further developed by US scientists at Fort Detrick.An estimated two million people, or 20% of the total population, were killed. The bombing flattened every city in the country. In addition, the bombing targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River. The intention was to destroy the rice crop and thereby starve the population into submission. Only emergency assistance from, among others, the Soviet Union and China prevented widespread famine and death.The Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The war is still technically not concluded, and it is the failure to address the multiple issues left unresolved by the armistice that are the direct antecedents of the present confrontational style adopted by both sides of the argument.Although one will struggle to find it in any contemporary western news outlet, the North Korean leadership does have considerable justification for its current stance and policies.North Korea signed the nuclear treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) in December 1985. A further non-proliferation agreement came into force in May 1992, at which time IAEA inspections of North Korea’s compliance with the NPT began. There were disputes about North Korea’s actual compliance with the NPT, but the significant point is that the North Koreans agreed to the IAEA’s inspection demands. In exchange, the US suspended its joint military exercises with the South Koreans and agreed to face to face negotiations to resolve outstanding issues.These talks resulted in a wide-ranging agreement in October 1994, popularly referred to as the “Agreed Framework”. Shortly after the Framework was signed however, the Republican Party took control of Congress. Implementation of the Agreed Framework ceased almost immediately because of US Congressional hostility. The North Koreans repeatedly warned from that point that they would have no option other than to resume their nuclear program.

In reply to by moneybots

Justin Case flamboyant Sun, 11/26/2017 - 15:05 Permalink

No body can predict the future. Who would have predicted that merica would be in such rapid decline 30 yrs. ago. Or that Nixon's opening the trade doors with China would take all the real jobs away from mericans with corporations leaving merica for China?Dictators are never a positive for the people, so don't glorify a dictator because merica installed him, like Henry Kissinger who installed Pinochet. Henry Kissinger may face extradition proceedings in connection with the role of the United States in the 1973 military coup in Chile.Spare me the bullshit about a good or bad dictator.

In reply to by flamboyant

flamboyant Justin Case Sun, 11/26/2017 - 12:16 Permalink

Yes, and Solzhenitsyn was fibbing.
Stalin's Russia, not FDR 's America, won WW2. After our air power obliterated Central Europe we apparently decided it was worth saving after all. But our insight came just a little too late. By then your Communist buddies controlled Eastern Europe and the restitution really began. Just like it would have been so if Stalin's Russian troops had invaded and conquered Western Europe starting in June 1941.
FDR was a played fool. His little experiment in social planing in the 1930's sucked so many Commnists into the echelons of power the actions of the USA were entirely predictable.
Your crocodile tears about civilian losses are duly noted. When precisely did Communist regimes start to care about civilian losses? It wasn't in October 1917. Perhaps much later, in 1989?

In reply to by Justin Case

Justin Case flamboyant Sun, 11/26/2017 - 15:22 Permalink

When precisely did Capitalists regimes start to care about civilian losses? Oh let's not discuss that right? Mr. merica is perfect. They've killed moar civilians after WWII than all of WWII. Over 1 million in Iraq alone. First country to drop atomic bomb on civilians.Until recently, nobody understood fully that the terror-bombing of German civilians was not a “friendly fire” mistake, or the result of a bomber missing its mark. We believed the tall tale that schools, churches, cathedrals and castles were hit only when “enemy soldiers were firing from them” or because some small town mayor “refused to surrender.” Until the Internet leaked out uncensored, unfiltered information, most of the grim images and graphic accounts of the horror which rained from the skies over Germany were hidden away and free from scrutiny, judgement or condemnation. Mortality figures from Allied bombing, kept top secret for many years, now trickled out, as did photos, personal accounts and old newspaper clippings.“The aim is the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers and the disruption of civilised community life through-out Germany. It should be emphasised that the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives; the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale; and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy, they are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.”As early as 1942, 45,732 tons of bombs were dropped on Germany by the RAF, and even at that early stage, only 4% of them were aimed at industrial targets or ports! The rest were squarely aimed at city centers and civilians, not because their weapons were “inaccurate” or “unsophisticated” but because it was planned. Allied bombing would be killing thousands of German civilians a day by the later stages of the war because of this homicidal, morally corrupt and largely unsuccessful policy. 

In reply to by flamboyant

Justin Case Justin Case Sun, 11/26/2017 - 15:24 Permalink

On March 16, 1968, between 347 and 504 unarmed Vietnamese civilians were gunned down by members of the U.S. Army in what became known as the My Lai Massacre.The U.S. government has maintained that atrocities like this were isolated incidents in the conflict. Nick Turse says otherwise. In his new book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, Turse argues that the intentional killing of civilians was quite common in a war that claimed 2 million civilian lives, with 5.3 million civilians wounded and 11 million refugees.

In reply to by Justin Case

flamboyant Justin Case Sun, 11/26/2017 - 22:26 Permalink

In Paul Fussell's work " Thank for the A-bomb" there is a comments section where Fussell's detractors get to sound their moral superiority horns. The brief and fatal counter comment Fussell makes is simply this : none of the moral superiority crowd were alive and available - for - duty in 1945. None of the critics of the end as it happened were eligible for the invasion force, as Fussell was. So none of these morally superior types really earned their right to sound off. But they do.

In reply to by Justin Case

Justin Case Racer Sun, 11/26/2017 - 10:31 Permalink

The US is intervening for one simple fact: because the whole Pacific Rim agenda is predicated on poor relations with North Korea and war footing. Otherwise, the US would have no business in the Pacific and the only reason they are there is to counter China. So, North Korea is just theater. This is stage-managed geopolitical theater. It is very dangerous what the US is doing right now, what this president is doing right now, pushing the envelope in a very negative way.

In reply to by Racer

rtalcott Sun, 11/26/2017 - 09:23 Permalink

And what does this prove....know capabilities are known capabilities...nothing new...why would NK be intimidated by this?  What's the 'effing point besides burning cash and buying more MIC shit.

Two-bits Sun, 11/26/2017 - 09:25 Permalink

How can the world know we have these remarkable assets if we don't show them off once in awhile.Right off your coast Kim.Can you see my three carriers yet?look at my B-1's.You seen the subs yet?hold on the satellite is lining up.See diplomacy works when you give it a chance!

Justin Case small axe Sun, 11/26/2017 - 15:29 Permalink

and to con merica tax payers to feed the woar machine of a dieing empire.It's very apparent that many people know very little facts about their own country and blindly believe what their rulers tell them. Some people still believe that 6 million juice died in WWII. There weren't even that many in all of Europe.

In reply to by small axe