The mercurial North Korean leader had said previously that he understood the “need and the utility of the U.S. and [South Korea] continuing in its joint exercises,” Nauert said, stressing that the exercises are legal and “planned well, well in advance.”
The Defense Department also defended the exercises in a statement, calling them “defensive” and part of the alliance’s “routine, annual training program to maintain a foundation of military readiness.”
The two-week exercise kicked off Friday. It involves 100 warplanes, including eight F-22 radar-evading fighters and an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets, Yonhap reported.
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