A US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber flying over South Korea with US and South Korean fighter jets during a joint military drill this week. Photo: South Korean Defense Ministry via AFP

Formations of US B-1B bombers, F-22 fighters and other warplanes swept the skies over South Korea on Wednesday in simulated bombing runs as President Moon Jae-in warned that Pyongyang was “walking on thin ice.”

But Yonhap news agency quoted South Korea’s president as saying that a peaceful resolution of the crisis was still possible.

“The South-North Korean relations are still not so good. The tension between the South and the North is at its peak, and so it is a very cautious situation as if we are walking on thin ice,” Moon said while meeting with the leaders of seven leading religious orders, including the Buddhist, Protestant and Catholic faiths.

Meanwhile, hundreds of fighters and other aircraft continued to conduct attack drills part of annual US-South Korean Vigilant ACE air force exercises.

The five-day military event that began Monday involves more than 200 aircraft, including six US F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighters.

“Through the exercise, the South Korean and US air forces have demonstrated the alliance’s strong will and capability for strong retaliation against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

China reportedly staged military exercises this week in the Yellow and East seas near North Korea in an apparent warning to the US and South Korea that it will protect the balance of power in the region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also said at a news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday: “We hope relevant parties can maintain restraint and not do anything to add tensions on the Korean peninsula.”

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