The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday night sent two B-1B bombers to conduct mock drills off both of South Korea’s coasts on the Korean Peninsula.
The show of force during tense times comes despite North Korea threatening to shoot down U.S. bombers if it has to, after the country led by dictator Kim Jong Un claimed the U.S. declared war when President Donald Trump tweeted that North Korea “won’t be around much longer” if it keeps threatening the United States.
This was a joint drill among the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and Republic of Korea air force (ROKAF) units, and it was the first time U.S. Pacific Command B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with JASDF and ROKAF fighters at night.
According to U.S. Pacific Command:
Using Andersen Air Force Base, Guam as a power projection platform, two B-1B Lancers assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, flew a mission in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan, East Sea, making this the first time U.S. Pacific Command B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with JASDF and ROKAF fighters at night.
“Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea and hones the tactical prowess of each nations’ aviators,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Patrick Applegate, 613th Air Operation Center. “This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies anytime anywhere.”
The recent mission, flown as part of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission, demonstrates how U.S. military forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific are always ready to defend the American homeland and how the U.S. stands resolutely with Japan and the ROK to honor their unshakeable alliance commitments to safeguard security and stability.
Continuous Bomber Presence missions ensure the U.S., along with key allies, have a credible capability to respond to a variety of levels and types of threats throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. These actions are consistent with long-standing and well-known U.S. freedom of navigation policies that are applied to military operations around the world.
The U.S. sent bombers in late September – the aircraft flew the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. bomber or fighter aircraft has been in the 21st Century.
It was reported this week that President Trump is mulling a trip to the DMZ when he travels to South Korea next month.
The President recently shut down Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statements that the U.S. has an open line of communication with Pyongyang, and would hope to solve the conflict diplomatically. Trump alluded to the fact that his Administration and, most likely, the U.S. Military would be taking care of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Rhetoric has gone back and forth between the U.S. and North Korea all summer. Tensions can be cut with a knife, and the sometimes bizarre exchanges have left many Americans wondering exactly what is going to take place next.
- North Korea has claimed that President Trump “declared war” on the country after he tweeted that North Korea “won’t be around much longer” if it keeps threatening the United States. The White House issued a statement on Sept. 25 saying it had not declared war.
- On Sept. 25, North Korea’s foreign minister said Trump “declared war,” and that North Korea would shoot down U.S. bombers if it has to.
- On Sept. 23, the U.S. military sent Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and F-15C Eagle fighter jets to fly over waters east of North Korea in a show-of-force against the country.
- The North Korean Foreign Minister had threatened to drop a Hydrogen bomb, or H-bomb, over the Pacific Ocean in response to President Donald Trump’s speech at the United Nations in September, telling reporters on Sept. 22. it could mean “the strongest Hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean.”
- North Korea threatened to test an H-bomb after a slew of accusations from North Korean dictator Jim Kong Un, in response to President Trump’s intense U.N. General Assembly speech on Sept. 19, during which the President said “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un is on a “suicide mission” and that the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if need be.
- On Sept. 21 – the same day that Trump signed new sanctions against North Korea – Kim Jong Un threatened President Trump that he would “pay dearly” for his threat to destroy North Korea if the U.S. had to defend itself States or its allies, and he also called Trump a “dotard.”
- In a rare appearance on camera on Sept. 21, Kim spoke directly and said that Trump was “unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country.” Kim also said that Trump is “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire,” and that his U.N. speech showed “mentally deranged behavior.”
- On Sept. 20, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho had said the President’s speech and threats were “the sound of a dog barking.”
Sanctions against North Korea aim to impact the flow of cash to that country and cut off trade partners, as well.
The sanctions could also have contributed to the intensity of Kim Jon Un’s recent statements, as sanctions further and further alienate North Korea.
The sanctions against North Korea banned about 90 percent of North Korea’s exports, fully banning the country’s textile exports and reducing its oil and petroleum exports. The sanctions also banned the country’s overseas laborers, which provided nearly $500 million in revenue; and cut off all foreign investment with North Korea, its assets being frozen.
They were passed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council – with both China and Russia voting in favor – following North Korea’s sixth ever successful nuclear missile launch and claims that the country now has a Hydrogen bomb it can place on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
North Korea recently launched yet another missile, on Sept. 14, this one an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean.
The North Korean launch came hours after North Korea threatened to blow the United States to “ashes and darkness” and has said it will “sink” the country of Japan, following a United Nations resolution that banned 90 percent of its exports. North Korea had promised the U.S. would “suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in history” over the sanctions.
The United Nations in August also unanimously approved sanctions against North Korea in response to Kim Jong Un’s two successful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July.
Then, North Korea threatened “thousands-fold” revenge on the United States following those sanctions, which cut North Korea’s export revenue by $1 billion, or about a third. The sanctions banned North Korea from exporting coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.
North Korea’s sixth nuclear missile test caused a 6.3 earthquake and was roughly five times as large as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. The test came hours after North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un claimed that it now had an H-bomb to put onto its long-range ICBMs.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has said that North Korea is “begging for war,” and that it’s time for the international community to impose the strongest possible sanctions against North Korea.
North Korea has come out slinging harsh words following U.N. Security Council sanctions that ban nearly all of its exports, saying this week that the U.S. faces “final ruin” it it goes to war with Kim Jong Un.