S.Korea, US begin air manoeuvers

Seoul, May 11: South Korea and the US on Friday began large-scale annual joint air manoeuvers.

The annual two-week Max Thunder exercises are being held after Seoul and Washington postponed the dates of their other joint manoeuvers, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, due to the inter-Korean summit in April, reports Efe news.

The exercises will include some 100 fighters and bombers, and will deploy F-22 jets for the first time.

The objective of the manoeuvers is to improve the aerial capabilities of the allies, at a time of detente on the Korean peninsula following Pyongyang's historic decision to enter into dialogue with Seoul. This led to the historic inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in April.

Pyongyang used to condemn theses war games, considering them a rehearsal for invading its territory, and usually responded to the manoeuvers with missile tests.

This year, during a meeting with South Korean officials in March the North Korean regime expressed its understanding of the need for Washington and Seoul to hold such exercises.