US, South Korea launch joint air force exercise amid North Korea threat

The U.S. and South Korea kicked off their largest-ever joint air force exercise on Monday local time, just days after North Korea launched its first missile test in two months, The Associated Press reported.

The exercise, known as “Vigilant Ace,” will run through Friday and will include F-22 stealth fighters and F-35 aircraft, the AP reported.

Roughly 12,000 U.S. personnel from the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, along with 230 aircraft, will participate in the drill.South Korea’s defense ministry said the drill was aimed at improving the two nations’ wartime capabilities, according to the AP.

North Korea has, in turn, responded to the drill, saying it was a sign the U.S. is “begging” for war.

The exercise comes after Pyongyang launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile last week, ending a two-month hiatus for missile launches from the country.

The missile is said to have traveled nearly 2,800 miles high and for a distance of more than 600 miles.