U.S. flies pow­er­ful war­planes amid ten­sions with North Korea

Truro Daily News - - WORLD - By Hyung-Jin Kim

The U.S. mil­i­tary flew ad­vanced bombers and stealth jets over the Korean Penin­sula and near Ja­pan in drills with South Korean and Ja­panese war­planes on Mon­day, three days af­ter North Korea fired a mis­sile over Ja­pan.

The United States of­ten sends pow­er­ful mil­i­tary air­craft in a show of force in times of height­ened an­i­mosi­ties with North Korea. The North launched its lat­est mis­sile as it protested against tough new UN sanc­tions over its sixth nu­clear test on Sept. 3.

Mon­day’s fly­overs over the Korean Penin­sula in­volved two B-1Bs and four F-35Bs from the U.S. mil­i­tary and four F-15K fighter jets from South Korea, ac­cord­ing to the South Korean and U.S. mil­i­taries. The U.S. and South Korean planes prac­tised at­tacks by re­leas­ing live weapons at a fir­ing range in South Korea, the U.S. Pa­cific Com­mand said in a state­ment.

The U.S. war­planes also con­ducted for­ma­tion train­ing with Ja­panese fighter jets over wa­ters near the south­ern is­land of Kyushu, ac­cord­ing to the Pa­cific Com­mand.

Since Kim Jong Un took power in North Korea in late 2011, his na­tion has tested weapons at a tor­rid pace. The coun­try flight-tested two in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles in July. Its nu­clear test in Sep­tem­ber was its most pow­er­ful to date.

Many ex­perts say it’s only a mat­ter of time un­til Kim achieves his stated ob­jec­tive of pos­sess­ing re­li­able nu­clear-tipped mis­siles ca­pa­ble of strik­ing any­where in the main­land U.S.

State me­dia on Sat­ur­day quoted Kim as say­ing that North Korea’s fi­nal goal “is to es­tab­lish the equi­lib­rium of real force with the U.S.

and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about mil­i­tary op­tion” for the North.

Alarmed by North Korea’s ad­vanc­ing weapons pro­grams, many con­ser­va­tives in South Korea have called for the rein­tro­duc­tion of U.S. tac­ti­cal nu­clear weapons in the South. But the lib­eral-lean­ing gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in said it has no in­ten­tion of re­quest­ing that the U.S. bring back such weapons.

South Korean De­fence Min­is­ter Song Young-moo told law­mak­ers on Mon­day that it is “not proper” to rein­tro­duce U.S. nu­clear weapons. He pre­vi­ously said the idea should be “deeply con­sid­ered” by the al­lies, in­flam­ing al­ready-heated de­bate on the is­sue.

Mean­while, China’s Com­mu­nist Party news­pa­per on Mon­day crit­i­cized the United States for de­mand­ing that Bei­jing put more pres­sure on North Korea to rein in its weapons pro­grams.

“The so-called ‘China’s re­spon­si­bil­ity the­ory’ is es­sen­tially moral kid­nap­ping,” the Peo­ple’s Daily said in a com­men­tary. It also noted sanc­tions should not harm “le­git­i­mate eco­nomic and trade ex­changes be­tween North Korea

and the out­side world” and the lives of ev­ery­day peo­ple.

China ac­counts for about 90 per cent of North Korea’s trade and sends largely free crude oil ship­ments to the North. Bei­jing has been in­creas­ingly frus­trated with North Korea’s nu­clear drive, but it still doesn’t want the North to col­lapse and cause a wave of refugees to cross the bor­der into China and Amer­i­can troops to move into North Korea.

China’s for­eign min­istry said Mon­day that mil­i­tary threats be­ing made by North Korea and the U.S. were coun­ter­pro­duc­tive.

“Some re­lated par­ties keep send­ing threat­en­ing mes­sages both in words and deeds that in­clude warn­ings of mil­i­tary ac­tions to each other,” min­istry spokesman Lu Kang told re­porters at a reg­u­lar brief­ing. “But ac­tu­ally, these kinds of ac­tions didn’t help solv­ing the prob­lem but fur­ther com­pli­cate the sit­u­a­tion, which do no good to the res­o­lu­tion of the penin­su­lar is­sue.”

In­stead, he said, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should strictly im­ple­ment the sanc­tions im­posed on North Korea by the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.


U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber, F-35B stealth fighter jets and South Korean F-15K fighter jets fly over the Korean Penin­sula dur­ing a joint drills, South Korea.

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