China Launches Their Own Air Exercises to Counter US/South Korea Drill

China's air force drills warn US, South Korea

By now, we all know that North Korea's been hard at work dong what they do best: Launching test missiles and fiery rhetoric.

The Chinese air force launched an exercise of their own concurrent to the enormous air drills being run by the USA and South Korea, causing experts to speculate what, exactly, Beijing is trying to communicate to the West.

A South Korean defense ministry official was unable to immediately verify the Yonhap report about the U.S. B-1B Lancer bombers taking part in the drills on Wednesday.

"We now have no intent to initiate departures for military dependents, whether on a voluntary or mandatory basis, and no intent to modify the policy authorizing military dependents to accompany military members being stationed in South Korea", a spokesman for the Pacific Command, Navy Lt. Cmdr.

The United States and South Korea deployed THAAD, a USA missile defense system, that is strongly opposed in Beijing.

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.

It is reported by South Korean joint chiefs of staff.

The Chinese spokesman did not provide details on dates, but the announcement came the same day Washington and Seoul launched their biggest joint air force exercise.

The threats come a week after North Korea's latest launch of an ICBM, which is believed to be capable of striking anywhere in the US mainland.

Those areas overlap with Japanese and South Korean airspace.

It also labelled Trump, who has threatened to destroy North Korea if the United States is threatened, "insane".

"And as you know, this is a regime that's never met a weapon that it hasn't proliferated".

The North Korean spokesperson described the remark as an "alarming sign", given the statements were made amid the "largest-ever joint aerial drill". That led to events such as the Able Archer incident in 1983 where the Kremlin mistook a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise as preparations to launch a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union-the closest Washington and Moscow ever came to World War III.

Quoting a document posted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, the report also reported that Changbai County in Jilin Province-located just across the border with North Korea- plans to set up five shelters for North Korean refugees to prepare for a possible war on the Korean Peninsula.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest.

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