The White House is aiming to increase pressure on the North Korean regime through the latest show of force, according to South Korean military officials.
The deployment of six fighters on the peninsular is part of an agreement signed between Washington and Seoul, which aims at expanding "rotational deployment" of USA strategic assets on the Korean peninsula and pressuring North Korea to drop its nuclear programme.
Working from eight USA and South Korean military installations across South Korea, more than 12,000 U.S. personnel will be involved in Vigilance Ace.
The source also told Yonhap that the North has apparently temporarily closed a bridge over which the defector drove a military jeep to reach the border before his dramatic escape on foot last Monday. He was shot five times and is now recovering at a hospital near Seoul where he was operated twice to fix internal organ damage and other injuries.
Following Donald Trump's visit to South Korea earlier this month, North Korea promised to continue developing its nuclear program "as long as imperialism, the root of evil and injustice, is left on Earth".
After investigating the incident, the U.N. Command said Wednesday it concluded that North Korea violated the armistice agreement ending the 1950-53 Korean War because its soldiers fired across and physically crossed the border in pursuit of the defector.
"It's Korean people's resolute decision that (North Korea) should face off the USA only with nuclear (weapons) to achieve the balance of power", Ri was quoted as saying by the Rodong Sinmun newspaper of the ruling Korean Workers' Party.
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