November 04, 2019 12:23
South Korea and the U.S. have canceled a massive joint aerial drill for the second time running this year.
The exercise, dubbed "Vigilant Ace," used be staged every December, and the last one in 2017, when the North Korean nuclear crisis reached boiling point, involved a record 230 warplanes.
Instead, the South Korean Air Force and the U.S. Forces Korea will conduct their own aerial drills separately as they did last year, a Defense Ministry spokesman here said Sunday.
The spokesman said the drill was canceled to "support diplomatic efforts to denuclearize North Korea." The North continues to conducts missile tests.
"The cancellation won't weaken combined combat capability," the spokesman claimed. "Small-scale joint aerial drills are being staged frequently at squadron and lower-levels."
Whether that spells the end for Vigilant Ace altogether will be decided at the bilateral Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul in mid-November.
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