US flexes mus­cles against N Korea

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TWO huge US strate­gic bombers flew over South Korea yes­ter­day in a show of force against North Korea fol­low­ing Py­ongyang’s fifth and largest-ever nu­clear test.

The su­per­sonic B-1B Lancers reached airspace over the US Osan Air Base at Pyeong­taek, 64 kilo­me­tres (40 miles) south of Seoul, at around 10am lo­cal time.

Each air­craft, which had flown from the US Pa­cific Com­mand’s An­der­son Air­force base at Guam, was es­corted by US and South Korean fighter jets.

“To­day’s demon­stra­tion pro­vides just one ex­am­ple of the full range of mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the deep re­sources of this strong al­liance to pro­vide and strengthen ex­tended de­ter­rence”, said Gen­eral Vin­cent Brooks of US-South Korea Com­bined Forces Com­mand.

“North Korea’s nu­clear test is a danger­ous es­ca­la­tion and poses an unac­cept­able threat,” said the gen­eral, adding the US has an “un­shak­able com­mit­ment” to de­fend al­lies in the re­gion.

The US “will take ne­c­es­sary steps to do so, in­clud­ing op­er­a­tions like this one to­day, and the de­ploy­ment of the Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Air De­fence [THAAD] bat­tery to the Korean Penin­sula,” he said.

South Korea in July an­nounced plans to de­ploy THAAD, a so­phis­ti­cated US mis­sile de­fence sys­tem, to counter grow­ing nu­clear and mis­sile threats from the North.

But China, which be­lieves the sys­tem’s radar could also be used to track its own de­fences, ob­jected strongly. The plan has also met re­sis­tance from res­i­dents of the south­ern county of Seongju, the planned site.

South Korean op­po­si­tion par­ties op­pose the THAAD de­ploy­ment, in­sist­ing it could es­ca­late a re­gional arms race and hurt ties with China.

They also say its use­ful­ness against the North’s mil­i­tary threats is doubt­ful.

Yes­ter­day’s over­flight was “aimed at send­ing a clear warn­ing to North Korea about its nu­clear test, and con­tain­ing fur­ther provo­ca­tions”, South

Korea’s de­fence min­istry spokesper­son Moon Sang-Gyun said.

Washington took sim­i­lar ac­tions af­ter pre­vi­ous atomic tests. In Jan­uary, the US flew a B-52 Strato­fortress strate­gic bomber over Osan Air Base af­ter the North’s fourth nu­clear blast.

South Korea is home to around 28,500 Amer­i­can troops and nu­mer­ous bases. –

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