The U.S. Air Force has deployed three B-2 stealth bombers and 200 Airmen to Guam to support Pacific Command’s Bomber and Assurance Deterrence mission, according to a Pacific Air Forces statement.
The deployment comes amid discussions between North and South Korea involving the Winter Olympics. According to the Air Force, the deployment was scheduled, but still comes at a time of heightened tensions between the countries.
The B-2 nuclear-capable bombers and the 200 Airmen were deployed to Anderson Air Force Base as part of the Pentagon’s Bomber Assurance and Deterrence mission. For the past 15 years, the Pentagon has sent bombers into the Pacific as a show of support in the region.
A B-2 bomber was recently deployed to Guam in October, but was only there for a few hours for a training mission. The last time three B-2 bombers were deployed to Guam was roughly one year ago.
The move comes just days after North and South Korean leaders met to discuss the 2018 Winter Olympics next month.
North Korea agreed to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics, but still said they would not discuss denuclearization.
Earlier on Tuesday, South Korea had said it would temporarily lift sanctions on North Korea so that they could participate in the Olympic Games. South Korea also proposed that North Korean athletes should march with South Korean athletes during the Winter Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies.
President Donald Trump has also told South Korean President Moon Jae-in that the U.S. would be open to talks with North Korea “at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances,” the White House said Wednesday, Reuters reported.