B-52 bomber may not join Max Thunder exercise: Yonhap

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-05-16 10:14 Updated : 2018-05-16 10:14
글씨작게 글씨크게

A file picture shows an F-22 plane involved in an exercise in South Korea. [Yonhap News Photo]

SEOUL -- A U.S. B-52 strategic bomber may not participate in the ongoing South Korea-U.S. air maneuvers, a source here said Wednesday, hours after North Korea canceled high-level cross-border talks in an angry response to the exercise.

The two-week Max Thunder exercise began Friday, involving 100 aircraft, including eight F-22 radar-evading fighter jets, as well as F-15Ks and F-16s. It is hosted by South Korea's Air Force Operations Command and the U.S. 7th Air Force. The North's Korean Central News Agency lambasted the drills as a rehearsal for invasion and a provocation amid thawing inter-Korean ties.

"In the training, the U.S. F-22 stealth fighters have already participated, while the B-52 has yet to join," the source said on condition of anonymity. "It appears that the B-52 may not attend the exercise, which runs through May 25." Pyongyang has repeatedly shown its aversion to the deployment of the B-52 bomber, part of the U.S. nuclear umbrella, over the peninsula.