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US flies supersonic bomber in show of force against North Korea | Nuclear Weapons News

US flies supersonic bomber in show of force against North Korea | Nuclear Weapons News

At least one B-1B aircraft took part in a joint U.S.-South Korean air force exercise, Seoul said, noting that North Korea again fired 4 ballistic missiles.

The United States flew a supersonic bomber over allied South Korea in a huge combined air exercise involving hundreds of warplanes in a show of force intended to intimidate North Korea in the during its barrage of ballistic missile tests this week.

At least one B-1B bomber took part on the final day of a joint U.S.-South Korean air force exercise that ended on Saturday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

The South Korean military also said North Korea fired four short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.

The Vigilant Storm exercise – involving around 240 fighter jets, including advanced F-35 fighter jets from both countries – sparked an angry reaction from North Korea.

The North this week spear dozens of missiles in the sea, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that triggered evacuation warnings in northern Japan and flew its own fighter jets inside its territory.

On Friday night, North Korea’s foreign ministry described the military actions as an appropriate response to Vigilant Storm, which it called “military confrontation hysteria” by the United States.

Pyongyang said North Korea answer with the “hardest reaction” to any attempt by “hostile forces” to encroach on its sovereignty or security interests.

Large-scale training has resumed

B-1B flyovers had been a familiar show of force during past periods of tensions with North Korea. The United States has kept four of the suicide bombers in Guam since late October, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

South Korea has asked the United States to step up the deployment of “strategic assets,” which include aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and long-range bombers such as the B-1B.

After talks with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin in Washington on Thursday, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said the United States had agreed to use “US strategic assets at a level equivalent to constant deployment by increasing the frequency and intensity of deployment of strategic assets in and around”. the Korean peninsula.

The planes last appeared in the region in 2017 in another provocative run at North Korean weapons demonstrations. But overflights have been halted in recent years as the United States and South Korea halted large-scale exercises to support the The diplomatic efforts of the Trump administration with North Korea and because of COVID-19.

Allies resumed full-scale training this year as North Korea ramped up its weapons testing at a record pace. They are exploiting a split in the UN Security Council, which has widened due to Russia’s war on Ukraine and North Korea has used this window to accelerate the development of armaments.

North Korea hates such point-blank displays of US military power. The North continued to describe the B-1B as a “nuclear strategic bomber” although the aircraft switched to conventional armament in the mid-1990s.

Vigilant Storm was originally scheduled to end on Friday, but the allies decided to extend the training until Saturday in response to a series of North Korean ballistic launches on Thursday, including an ICBM that triggered evacuation alerts and stopped trains in northern Japan.

Thursday’s launches came after the North fired more than 20 missiles on Wednesday, the most it had launched in a single day.

The launches came after senior North Korean military official Pak Jong Chon issued a veiled threat of nuclear conflict with the United States and South Korea over their joint exercises, which the North says are rehearsals for a possible invasion.

INTERACTIVE Missile launches and nuclear tests in North Korea October 2022

“Unstable Atmosphere”

South Korea also on Friday scrambled about 80 military aircraft after tracking about 180 North Korean warplane flights inside North Korean territory. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korean warplanes had been detected in various areas inland and along the country’s east and west coasts, but did not come particularly close. from the Korean border.

The South Korean military spotted about 180 flight tracks from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., but it was not immediately clear how many North Korean planes were involved and whether any may have flown more than once.

In Friday’s statement attributed to an unidentified spokesperson, North Korea’s foreign ministry said the United States and South Korea had created an “unstable atmosphere” in the region with their military exercises.

Pyongyang has accused Washington of mobilizing its allies in a campaign using sanctions and military threats to pressure North Korea to disarm unilaterally.

“Sustained provocation will necessarily be followed by sustained counter-action,” the statement said.

South Korean officials say there are indications that North Korea could in the coming weeks detonate its first nuclear test device since 2017.

Analysts say North Korea is trying to force the United States to accept it as a nuclear power and is seeking to negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength.