The US military responded to North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches this week by performing separate military exercises with South Korea and Japan utilizing supersonic warplanes.
The air drills come after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un launched an ICBM this week that South Korea said was capable of hitting anyplace in the United States.
“We are mindful of the DPRK’s ballistic missile test and are working closely with both the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan, and other regional allies and partners,” the US Indo-Pacific Command stated in a statement after the launch. “The United States opposes these activities and urges the DPRK to abstain from additional illegal and disruptive behavior.” While we believe this occurrence poses no immediate threat to US soldiers, territories, or allies, we will remain vigilant about the situation. The United States’ pledges to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan stand unwavering.”
The US Air Force replied by conducting cooperative air training in the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone with B-1B warplanes and F-16s, as well as South Korean F-35s purchased from the US.
“This exercise showcased yet again the ROK-US joint defense capabilities and posture centered on the alliance’s extreme force, and the U.S. ironclad dedication to providing prolonged deterrence in the protection of the Korean Peninsula,” according to a statement from US Forces Korea. “In addition, this training increased the combined operations capability by learning procedures for quickly deploying and responding to the United States’ extended deterrent asset on the Korean Peninsula.”
According to the statement, South Korea is continuing to build military capabilities to react to North Korean hostilities if such a circumstance arises.
The B-1B apparently “irritates” Kim due to its potential to deliver any weapon in the US arsenal while carrying a hefty payload.
“Carrying the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided warheads in the Air Force inventory,” the US Strategic Command stated in a statement.
“The B-1s can carry Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, 2,000-pound class Joint Targeted Attack Munitions, and the Extended Range Anti-Ship Missile,” according to the statement. “It also features an advanced self-defense suite and can travel at supersonic speeds to increase defensive and offensive capabilities, comforting allies and aggressively deterring foes in the region.”