SEOUL – Six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters of the United States arrived on Saturday in South Korea for a joint flying exercise.
The fighter planes will take part in the joint drill on Monday in what would be a show of strength following North Korea’s missile test earlier this week.
The planes will take part in the “Vigilant ace” exercise with the South Korean air force from Dec. 4-8.
The US also plans to deploy F-35 and F-16 fighters and the B-1B strategic bombers, according to Yonhap agency.
This is the first time that the US has deployed six F-22 at one time in the Korean peninsula, which serves as another warning to Pyongyang after the latter launched a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile – its most sophisticated missile to date – on Wednesday.
This deployment, as well as the three US nuclear aircraft carriers deployed last month near the North Korean waters, falls under the agreement in October between Seoul and Washington to increase rotational deployment of strategic assets of the US in the Korean peninsula.
South Korea and the US seek to pressurize North Korea to return to the negotiating table to abandon its nuclear program.
The Kim Jong-un regime sees these exercises as rehearsals to invade its territory.
This year, constant weapons tests by North Korea, combined with US President Donald Trump’s war rhetoric, has increased tensions in the peninsula to unprecedented levels since the end of the Korean War (1950-53).