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    U.S. and South Korea Hold Joint Air Defense Drills

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    U.S. and South Korean air forces launched a joint air defense exercise, amid tensions on the Korean peninsula. Some 300 pilots participated in the drill... to sharpen their ability to work together in war.

    U.S. and South Korean air forces held joint air defense drills on Monday, as relations between the North and South remain chilly.

    Some 300 pilots participated in the drill over the southwestern airspace of the Korean peninsula.

    The exercise was a massive, regular joint exercise to sharpen their ability to work together in simulated war situations.

    It involved about 60 warplanes, including fleets of F-15K and F-16 fighter jets from South Korea, as well as air surveillance planes from the U.S.

    Colonels from the U.S. and South Korean air forces said the exercise worked to the advantage of both countries.

    [Col. Danny Wolf, U.S. Air Force]:
    "For us, Max Thunder is a great opportunity to deploy and practice bed-down, maintenance, logistics and of course combine flight operations to strengthen our alliance and make ourselves better."

    [Col. Ryu Young-gwan, South Korean Air Force]:
    "We have prepared a lot for this joint drill and we learned a lot about the North Korean military. Through this drill, we can enhance each other's capability."

    Tensions on the Korean peninsula remain high after North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship in March last year, killing 46 sailors. And North Korea's shelling of South Korean Yeonpyeong Island last November killed four people, including two civilians.

    The air defense drills will run through Friday.