Show of force

US BOMBERS FLY OVER SOUTH KOREA AF­TER NORTH’S 2ND ICBM TEST

West Hawaii Today - - Front Page - BY KIM TONG-HYUNG

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 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.”

“The time for talk is over,” U.S. Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley said in a state­ment. 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 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 he and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump spoke by phone this morn­ing Asia time 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 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.”

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 liq­uid­fuel mis­siles.

The U. S. Mis­sile De­fense Agency said a Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense, 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.

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