May 7, 2012
South Korea and the United States launched a biannual joint aerial drill Monday amid speculations of a potential nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the defense ministry of South Korea said Monday.
The “Max Thunder” exercise mobilizes 60 planes and hundreds of air personnel from the allies for a 12-day maneuver over the western airspace of the Korean Peninsula, according to the defense ministry here.
The allies will be engaged in precision strikes and air-to-air refueling exercise.
The exercise will display the joint military prowess of the allies and their readiness to immediately strike back once under attack, the ministry said.
The DPRK has repeatedly threatened retaliation against joint war games, which Seoul and Washington say are defensive in nature.
Experts and government officials here believe the DPRK might conduct its third nuclear test soon, following the failed rocket launch that earned international condemnation.