South Korea, US kick off large-scale air exercise amid North Korean warnings

Exercise Vigilant Ace 18 kicks off

However, that plan was swiftly rejected over the summer by the U.S., which claims it has the right to conduct military exercises with its ally South Korea.

The drills come a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, as part of a weapons programme that it has conducted in defiance of global sanctions and condemnation.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong Guk met Feltman on Wednesday in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and discussed bilateral cooperation and other issues of mutual interest, KCNA said.

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter aircraft, assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron, taxis down a runway during Exercise VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 3, 2017.

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While we're at a point now where North Korean threats are as routine as the sunrise, China has sent an aggressive message in passive support of the belligerent state that warrants more serious attention.

North Korea regularly uses its state media to threaten the United States and its allies.

United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman arrived in Pyongyang for a four-day visit Tuesday, the first time a high-ranking United Nations official visited the country since 2012.

The bomber flew from the Pacific U.S. -administered territory of Guam and joined U.S. F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters in the annual exercises, which run until Friday.

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On Pakistan's entry to the NSG, Ryabkov said there is no prospect for any "unanimity" with respect to the Pakistani application. China has favoured a criteria-based approach for expansion of the 48-member group, which controls worldwide nuclear commerce.

The annual joint exercise, called "Vigilant Ace", has been created to enhance readiness and operational capability and to ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula, officials have said. The exercise allows USA and RoK forces to train together to deter aggression, preserve the armistice, and defeat any attack against the alliance.

Simultaneously, China launched drills December 2 that involve sending new Shaanxi Y-9 transport aircraft over the South China Sea, simulating an airdrop over an island in contested waters.

The South Carolina Republican, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, last Sunday said North Korea was pushing the United States closer to conflict and "it's time start moving American dependents out of South Korea". Feltman held talks with deputy foreign minister Pak Myong Gun on Wednesday. While the exercise comes on the heels of North Korea's missile test, the timing of the wargames is purely coincidence.

It says its weapons programmes are a necessary defence against USA plans to invade.

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