It is time for Vigilant Ace, the annual military drill between the United States and its ally South Korea. Hordes of the latest generation of stealth fighters -- along with bombers -- have arrived to participate in the war games. The main purpose of this exercise is to fine-tune the wartime capabilities and preparedness of South Korea.

Independent UK reports that F-22 and F-35 stealth fighter jets, along with more than 10,000 US military personnel, are expected to participate. B-1B bombers could also join the exercise, and the aircraft will be flying from various American and South Korean military bases in South Korea.

The war games will continue for five days and is timed soon after North Korea tested an ICBM which is believed to have the potential to target locations in the United States.

Reaction of North Korea

Such exercises are held regularly by the United States and South Korea and are not related to any specific incident or provocation. However, the state media of North Korea feels that war games of this nature, conducted by America, are excuses to invade the country. They could escalate tension in the Korean Peninsula and push it towards a nuclear war.

Before the military drill started, the Korean Central News Agency said that Pyongyang will examine suitable countermeasures. It is known that the country has an arsenal of nuclear weapons, and the war of words between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump had, at times, become uncomfortable.

In recent times, it led to fears of a direct confrontation with nuclear weapons which could precipitate a major global crisis.

Reactions of NATO and South Korea

In the opinion of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, any war in the region would be catastrophic. It would impact the whole world because the 29-country military alliance of NATO cannot remain a silent spectator.

It is not only strong and united, but is also in a position to respond to any ballistic and nuclear attack. He also added that the alliance would create pressure on North Korea to dissuade it from any action that could threaten innocent lives.

As for South Korea, the local people usually ignore North Korea's rhetoric. However, in the present scenario, some senior American officials are worried because of the latest ICBM test of the North.

Apart from American diplomats and other embassy workers, there is a sizable number of US troops in South Korea and some of them have their families with them.

However, the United States government has not yet made any formal decision to evacuate American citizens from South Korea because that could give rise to panic among the locals and be misinterpreted by others.