U.S. mounts show of force against North

Amer­i­can bombers fly over South Korea fol­low­ing North’s 2nd ICBM test

Penticton Herald - - WORLD -

SEOUL, Korea, Repub­lic Of — The United States flew two su­per­sonic bombers over the Korean Penin­sula on Sun­day in a show of force against North Korea fol­low­ing the coun­try’s lat­est in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile test. The U.S. also said it con­ducted a suc­cess­ful test of a mis­sile de­fence sys­tem lo­cated in Alaska.

The B-1 bombers were es­corted by South Korean fighter jets as they per­formed a low pass over an air­base near the South Korean cap­i­tal of Seoul be­fore re­turn­ing to An­der­sen Air Force Base in Guam, the U.S. Pa­cific Air Forces said in a state­ment.

It said the mis­sion was a re­sponse to North Korea’s two ICBM tests this month. An­a­lysts say flight data from the North’s sec­ond test, con­ducted Fri­day night, showed that a broader part of the main­land United States, in­clud­ing Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of Py­ongyang’s weapons.

Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence said Sun­day dur­ing a visit to Es­to­nia that the U.S. and its al­lies plan to in­crease pres­sure on North Korea to end its nu­clear pro­gram.

“The con­tin­ued provo­ca­tions by the rogue regime in North Korea are un­ac­cept­able, and the United States of Amer­ica is go­ing to con­tinue to mar­shal the sup­port of na­tions across the re­gion and across the world to fur­ther iso­late North Korea eco­nom­i­cally and diplo­mat­i­cally,” Pence said. “But the era of strate­gic pa­tience is over. The pres­i­dent of the United States is lead­ing a coali­tion of na­tions to bring pres­sure to bear un­til that time that North Korea will per­ma­nently aban­don its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram.”

Gen. Ter­rence J. O’Shaugh­nessy, Pa­cific Air Forces com­man­der, called North Korea “the most ur­gent threat to re­gional sta­bil­ity.”

“Di­plo­macy re­mains the lead. How­ever, we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to our al­lies and our na­tion to show­case our un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment while plan­ning for the worstcase sce­nario,” O’Shaugh­nessy said. “If called upon, we are ready to re­spond with rapid, lethal and over­whelm­ing force at a time and place of our choos­ing.”

The United States of­ten sends pow­er­ful war­planes in times of height­ened ten­sions with North Korea. B-1 bombers have been sent to South Korea for fly­overs sev­eral times this year in re­sponse to the North’s banned mis­sile tests, and also fol­low­ing the death of a U.S. col­lege stu­dent last month af­ter he was re­leased by North Korea in a coma.

The Hwa­song-14 ICBM, which the North first tested on July 4, is the high­light of sev­eral new weapons sys­tems Py­ongyang launched this year. They in­clude an in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­sile that North Korea says is ca­pa­ble of hit­ting Alaska and Hawaii, and a solid-fuel midrange mis­sile, which an­a­lysts say can be fired faster and more se­cretly than liq­uid-fuel mis­siles.

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