Washington and Seoul are preparing new exercises to show muscle to Pyongyang

Six US F-22 Raptor fighter jets have arrived in South Korea to participate in a joint air drill to be launched next Monday to show strength against North Korea.

The South Korean air force announced on Saturday that the fighters would participate in the annual exercise, which is named “the pilot vigilant” and will be from 4 to 8 December.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said this would be the first time that six US F-22 fighter jets have been flown in the country at the same time.

The air force said that about 230 aircraft stationed in eight South Korean and US bases will participate in the exercises, stressing that it will simulate the targeting of missile and nuclear sites in North Korea, against the backdrop of Pyongyang announced the production of a new ballistic missile cross-continents and able to travel about 13 thousand kilometers, according to the authorities of the country.

Seoul and Washington agreed in October to deploy US strategic forces in the region to deter North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.

For its part, Pyongyang sees in joint annual exercises between its southern neighbor and the United States preparations for military intervention, justifying the development of its missile and nuclear program.

Earlier this year, Russia and China put forward a “mutual freeze” plan, which calls for Washington and Seoul to refrain from joint exercises in the region in return for Pyongyang’s suspension of its weapons programs. However, the plan was not supported by either side.