Free Press Journal

US flies bombers over Korean Peninsula in show of force


US B-1 bomber (center) flies over Osan Air Base with South Korean Air Forces jet in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on Tuesday – AP/PTI

Washington D.C.: The U.S. military flew two Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force late on Tuesday. The two B-1B bombers were accompanied by two F-15K fighters from Guam, the Independent quoted South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff as stating in a news release on Wednesday.

The US bombers had taken off from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. In August, Pyongyang threatened to fire intermediate-range missiles towards the vicinity of Guam, a US Pacific territory that is frequently subjected to sabre-rattling from the North.
After entering South Korean airspace, the two bombers carried out air-to-ground missile drills in waters off the east coast of South Korea, then flew over the South waters between it and China to repeat the drill, the release said.

A day before, United States President Donald Trump met top defence officials including Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford to discuss how to respond to any threat from North Korea. Moreover, North Korean hackers have allegedly stolen US and South Korean wartime operational plans, including a plan to wipe out the North Korean leadership from a South Korean Defense Ministry database in September 2016, according to Rhee Cheol-hee, a member of South Korea’s National Assembly.

Some 235 gigabytes of military documents were taken from South Korea’s Defence Integrated Data Centre in September last year, Democratic Party representative Rhee Cheol-hee said in radio appearances on Wednesday, citing information from unidentified South Korean defence officials, the Independent reported. The US military said it conducted drills with Japanese fighters after the exercise with South Korea, making it the first time US bombers have conducted training with fighters from both Japan and South Korea at night.

The South Korean military said this was part of a regular exercise to bolster military defenses and also to display the alliance between the United States and South Korea. U.S. Air Force Major Patrick Applegate said, “Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea and hones the tactical prowess of each nations’ aviators.” North Korea had launched two intermediate-range ballistic missiles over the territory of the close US ally, Japan, followed by sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.