For their part, South Korea and the United States demonstrated their own combined air superiority last week, with fighter jets flying a record 1,600 sorties during Exercise Vigilant Storm.
On Saturday, two nuclear-capable B-1B Lancer bombers, taking off from Guam, the American territory in the Western Pacific, flew over South Korea, flanked by four South Korean F-35A fighter jets and four American F- 16, according to the South Korean military. US last deployed B-1B bombers over South Korea in 2017when North Korea conducted its last nuclear test, as well as its first ICBM firing tests.
North Koreans are particularly susceptible to long-range US bombers over South Korea, after US aerial bombardments reduced their country to ashes during the Korean War in the 1950s.
The dispatch of the B-1Bs, which had been planned before North Korea launched the missile on Saturday morning, was part of Washington’s commitment to its so-called extended deterrence, including the deployment of military forces to nuclear capability, to help defend South Korea against the growing nuclear and missile threat from the North.
Concerns about North Korea’s nuclear arsenal are rising in South Korea since North Korea’s adoption a more aggressive nuclear doctrine, openly declaring that he would use nuclear weapons if threatened. He also conducted military exercises which he said involved the simulated launching of nuclear missiles at South Korea.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un sees expanding his nuclear and missile force as key to ensuring his regime’s security, increasing his influence in future arms control talks with Washington and tipping the balance of military power between North and South Korea in favor of the North. , according to analysts.
When Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III met with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Jong-sup, in Washington last week, he warned that “any nuclear attack” by the North “would bring about the end of the Kim regime. “. according to a joint statement.
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