U.S. bombers fly over S. Korea af­ter North’s 2nd ICBM test

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By KIM TONG-HYUNG, The As­so­ci­ated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — 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 de­fense sys­tem lo­cated in Alaska.

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

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, 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.”

“The time for talk is over,” U.S. Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley said.

She de­nied re­ports that Wash­ing­ton would seek an emer­gency ses­sion of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, say­ing that new sanc­tions that fail to in­crease pres­sure would be “worse than noth­ing.”

Ha­ley said that a weak res­o­lu­tion would show North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that “the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is un­will­ing to chal­lenge him,” and sin­gled out China, the North’s big­gest trad­ing part­ner, as a coun­try that must change its ap­proach.

Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said that he and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump spoke by phone to­day (in Asia) and have agreed to take fur­ther ac­tion against North Korea. Abe said Trump pledged to “take all nec­es­sary mea­sures to pro­tect” Ja­pan and that Abe praised his com­mit­ment to do so.

Abe said Ja­pan would pur­sue con­crete steps to bol­ster de­fense sys­tem and ca­pa­bil­i­ties un­der the firm sol­i­dar­ity with the U.S. and do its utmost to pro­tect the safety of the Ja­panese peo­ple.

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.”

Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, DCalif., told CBS’ “Face the Na­tion” that North Korea’s lat­est test presents a clear and present dan­ger to the United States.

“I’ve spent time on the in­tel­li­gence and at the brief­ings, and done as much read­ing as I pos­si­bly could,” said Fe­in­stein, a mem­ber of the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee. “And I’m con­vinced that North Korea has never moved at the speed that this leader has to de­velop an ICBM.”

Fe­in­stein said that the sit­u­a­tion shows the dan­ger of iso­lat­ing a coun­try.

“I think the only so­lu­tion is a diplo­matic one,” she said. “I’m very dis­ap­pointed in China’s re­sponse, that it has not been firmer or more help­ful.”

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 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.

Gen. Lori Robin­son, com­man­der of the North Amer­i­can Aero­space De­fense Com­mand and U.S. North­ern Com­mand, re­spon­si­ble for home­land de­fense, said that the ICBM launched Friday “served as yet an­other re­minder of North Korea’s con­tin­ued threat to the United States and our al­lies.” She said that the com­mand “re­mains un­wa­ver­ing in our con­fi­dence that we can fully de­fend the United States against this bal­lis­tic mis­sile threat.”

The U.S. Mis­sile De­fense Agency said a Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense, or THAAD, sys­tem lo­cated in Ko­diak, Alaska, was suc­cess­fully tested Saturday. Of­fi­cials said that a medium-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile was air-launched over the Pa­cific, and the THAAD sys­tem de­tected, tracked and in­ter­cepted the tar­get.

AP photo

A man takes a pic­ture in front of a sign show­ing the dis­tance to North Korea’s cap­i­tal of Py­ongyang and to South Korea’s cap­i­tal of Seoul from Imjin­gang Sta­tion in Paju, South Korea, near the bor­der with North Korea on Sun­day.

South Korea De­fense Min­istry photo via AP

A U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber (top) flies with South Korean fighter jets F-15K over Osan Air Base in Pyeong­taek, South Korea, on Sun­day.

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