South Korean Air Force to Hold Joint Drills with US on Guam: Reports
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A number of countries in the Pacific region, including the US, are set to take part in joint drills amid de-escalation of the situation around North Korea and the upcoming meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean head Kin Jong-un.
South Korea will take part in the international military drills which are to be held from April 18 to 25 on the Anderson US military base on Guam, the Pacific Ocean, South Korean KBS broadcaster said Tuesday, Sputnik reported.
Besides South Korea and the US, Australia and Singapore will participate in the drills, organized by the US Pacific Command. The drills are aimed at training engineering units of the country-participants to reconstruct landing strips, practice fire suppression and interaction with explosive materials.
Anderson's infrastructure allows for a long-time deployment of B-52, B-2 and B-1B bombers and support aircraft. According to media reports, the base is currently home to six B-1B bombers, which have been operated at least 11 times since 2017, imitating a possible preventive attack on North Korean targets.
Over the last year, tensions in the Pacific region escalated in the wake of repeated ballistic missile launches and a nuclear test carried out by Pyongyang followed by the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on North Korea.
In August 2017, North Korea said it was considering a strategy to strike a US military base in Guam, while Donald Trump retorted by saying that the United States would respond to North Korea's threats with "fire and fury."
Several months later, US Air Force General David Goldfein said that in view of Pyongyang's actions, the US Air Force planned to deploy at least one type of its strategic bombers on Guam.
However, the situation in the region has de-escalated in recent months, following North Korea's participation in the 2018 Olympics as well as Kim Jong-un's intention to normalize relations with Washington.
On March 9, Trump accepted the invitation to meet with Kim by the end of May, saying that he expected "tremendous success" in solving the North Korean issue, adding that he expected Pyongyang to cease its ballistic missile and nuclear tests, as well as ultimately denuclearize completely.