United States deployed cutting-edge stealth jets and long range bombers for military drills with South Korea on Thursday, in a clear warning to North Korea following their ballistic missile launch earlier this week.North Korea hates such displays of U.S. military might along Korean peninsula and will likely respond with fury.Two U.S. B-1B supersonic bombers and four F-35B stealth fighter jets joined four South Korean F-15 fighters in live-fire exercises at a military field in eastern South Korea.The training mission simulated precision strikes against the North’s ‘core facilities,’ according to U.S. Pacific Command and South Korea’s Defense Ministry.The B-1Bs were flown in from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam while F-35Bs came from a U.S. base in Iwakuni, Japan.
The North, which claims Washington has long threatened Pyongyang by flaunting the powerful U.S. nuclear arsenal, describes long range B-1Bs as ‘nuclear strategic bombers’ although United States no longer arms them with nuclear weapons.The dueling military displays open up risk that things will get worse as each side seeks to show it won’t be intimidated.North Korea has made it clear that it sees its weapons program, which demands regular testing to perfect, as only way to contest decades of U.S. hostility, by which it means the huge U.S. military presence in South Korea, Japan and the Pacific.
Washington, in turn, seeks with its joint drills with Seoul and bomber flights to show that it will not be pushed from its traditional role of supremacy in region. More missile tests, more bomber flyovers and three angry armies facing each other across world’s most heavily armed border raises the possibility that a miscalculation could lead to real fighting.The U.S. Pacific Command told exercises were conducted in direct response to North Korea’s recent missile launch. Over the course of a 10-hour mission, the B-1Bs, F-35Bs and two Japanese F-15 fighters first flew together over waters near Kyushu, Japan.The U.S. and South Korean warplanes then flew across the Korean Peninsula and participated in live-fire training before returning to their respective home stations, according to the Pacific Command.’North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly,’ Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, said in a statement.’This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our allies and underscores broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat. Our forward-deployed force will be the first to fight, ready to deliver a lethal response at a moment’s notice if our nation calls.’ In Beijing,The bombing exercise came as the United States and South Korea wrapped up their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military drills that involved tens of thousands of soldiers. North Korea condemns the annual U.S.-South Korea war games as rehearsals for an invasion and described Tuesday’s launch over Japan as a countermeasure against the drills. Washington and Seoul faced calls to postpone or downsize this year’s drills North Korea’s ally China warned that war is not an option in finding a solution to Pyongyang’s growing nuclear capabilities.Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Ren Guoqiang told reporters that all parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that escalate tension.
United States often sends its warplanes to South Korea, mostly for patrols, when animosity rises on Korean Peninsula, which is technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.North Korea on Tuesday flew a potentially nuclear capable Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile over northern Japan and later called it a ‘meaningful prelude’ to containing the U.S. territory of Guam. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told launch was a ‘curtain-raiser of its resolute countermeasures’ against U.S.-South Korea war games and called for his military to conduct more ballistic missile launches targeting the Pacific Ocean.North Korea has been maintaining a torrid pace in weapons tests this year as it openly pursues an arsenal of nuclear-armed, intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching deep into U.S. mainland. Experts say Kim wants a real nuclear deterrent against the United States to ensure survival of his government and likely believes that it will strengthen his negotiating position when North Korea returns to talks.Pyongyang had earlier threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, which is home to key U.S. military bases and strategic long-range bombers North finds threatening. It also flight tested a pair of developmental ICBMs in July.South Korean analysts told that the North’s threat against Guam and the launch over Japan on Tuesday are likely attempts to make launches over Japan an accepted norm and win itself greater military space in a region dominated by enemies.The U.S. and South Korean militaries say Hwasong-12 the North fired over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido flew for about 2,700 kilometers (1,677 miles). South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk told lawmakers on Thursday that North might have fired the missile at about half its maximum range. The bombing test came a day after U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Navy conducted a successful missile defense test off the coast of Hawaii.The test, scheduled well in advance, was done from USS John Paul Jones.A missile was fired from Hawaii and Standard Missile-6 guided missiles were shot off from John Paul Jones to intercept the target.