U.S. mil­i­tary flexes its mus­cles over South Korea

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - KIM TONG-HYUNG

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 United States 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 low­pass over an air­base near the South Korean cap­i­tal, 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.

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 worst-case 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 U.S. Mis­sile De­fence Agency said a Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fence, or THAAD, sys­tem lo­cated in Ko­diak, Alaska, was suc­cess­fully tested on Sat­ur­day night, Alaska time. It said that a medium-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile was air-launched over the Pa­cific, and that the THAAD sys­tem de­tected, tracked and in­ter­cepted the tar­get.


A U.S. air force B-1B Lancer bomber, top, flies with South Korean fighter jets dur­ing a South Korea-U.S. joint live fire drill on Sun­day.

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