US deploys F 22 Raptors for joint drill with Seoul

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Seoul: Six American F-22 Raptor stealth fighters reached South Korea for a joint flying exercise on Saturday- in a show of strength following North Korea’s missile test earlier this week.

The fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft will take part in the ‘Vigilant ace’ exercise with the South Korean air force from December 4 to 8.

The US also plans to deploy F-35 and F-16 fighters and the B-1B strategic bombers.

This is the first time that the US has deployed six F-22 at one time in the Korean peninsula, which serves as another warning to Pyongyang after the latter launched a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile – its most sophisticated missile to date – on Wednesday.

This deployment, as well as the three US nuclear aircraft carriers deployed last month near the North Korean waters, falls under the agreement in October between Seoul and Washington to increase rotational deployment of strategic assets of the US in the Korean peninsula.

South Korea and the US seek to pressurize North Korea to return to the negotiating table to abandon its nuclear programme.

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