Published: 17:09, February 2, 2023 | Updated: 18:00, February 2, 2023
ROK, US stage joint air drills amid DPRK warning
By Xinhua

A handout photo dated Feb 1, 2023 shows the ROK and US Air Forces conducting a combined air training with F-35A fighters, B-1B strategic bombers, F-22 and F-35B fighters participating in the skies over the West Sea, in the ROK. (PHOTO / THE ROK DEFENSE MINISTRY VIA REUTERS)

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States staged joint air drills involving strategic US bombers and fighters, the ROK defense ministry said on Thursday.

Mobilized for the combined air exercises were B-1B strategic bombers and F-22 and F-35B stealth fighter jets from the US air force as well as F-35A fighters from the ROK air force.

The drills were conducted on Wednesday over the western waters of the ROK to show "the US will and capabilities to provide strong and credible extended deterrence," the ministry said in a statement.

Pyongyang reiterated its principled stance on the US: the country will stick to the principle of "nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation" and will not get interested in any contact or dialogue with Washington as long as the latter persists in a hostile policy and confrontational line

The ministry noted that the two allies will strengthen their joint military exercises in connection with the deployment of US strategic assets.

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The joint air drills came after the defense chiefs of the ROK and the US held talks in Seoul on Tuesday, agreeing to expand and bolster the level and scale of this year's combined exercises and training.

In response the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) condemned the "reckless military confrontational maneuvers and hostile acts" of the US and the ROK.

The DPRK lashed out at the US and the ROK for extending continued combined drills in scale and scope, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, citing a statement issued by the ministry.

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Pyongyang reiterated its principled stance on the US: the country will stick to the principle of "nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation" and will not get interested in any contact or dialogue with Washington as long as the latter persists in a hostile policy and confrontational line, according to the statement.