World War 3: US Stages a Practice Run Over Korea
The United States flew two B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula in a World War 3 practice run on Thursday, its Air Force said, ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Asia.
The pair of bombers conducted sequenced bilateral missions with South Korean fighters and Japanese fighters, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.
“The two B-1B Lancers took off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and transited south of Korea and west of Japan to integrate with Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) fighters,” it said. “The Lancers then transited overland to Korea to integrate with Republic of Korea fighters in the Yellow Sea. Upon completion of bilateral integration, the aircraft returned to their respective home stations.”
The mission was planned in advance and not in response to any current event, it added.
Trump is set to embark on his first official visit to Asia on Friday. The White House has said the trip will largely focus on ways to counter the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The 12-day trip will include stops in South Korea, Japan, and China.
South Korea’s military also said that the U.S. bombers conducted simulated air-to-ground bombing drills over the Pilseung shooting range in Gangwon Province. They are known to have been escorted by two South Korean F-16K fighter jets.
“B-1B bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula once or twice per month,” a military source said. “The move is part of efforts to enhance rotational deployments of U.S. strategic assets to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
In Pyongyang, North Korea slammed the exercise as an attempt to “threaten and blackmail” the regime.
“The frenzied U.S. scheme of threats and blackmail, which aims to crush our republic with nuclear (weapons) continues in November as it did in October,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said hours before the U.S. announcement.
The bombers flew over Okinawa, Japan, and then the southern South Korean island of Jeju, before changing direction and heading toward the East Sea, it said.
Under the escort of South Korean fighter jets, the U.S. airmen practiced dropping nuclear bombs on “key” North Korean targets set up on a South Korean shooting range, it added.
The agency argued that what makes the situation worse is the simultaneous deployment of three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups in waters near the Korean Peninsula.
“The U.S. may make frantic last-minute efforts to block our powerful advances by shoving nuclear strategic assets at us, but our army and people are not ones to be startled,” it said.
The U.S. has recently conducted similar flyovers near the Korean Peninsula to deter North Korea from further nuclear and missile tests.
In July, the communist regime launched two long-range missiles potentially capable of reaching the mainland U.S. In September, it conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation.
At the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) last Saturday, the defense chiefs of South Korea and the U.S. reaffirmed the allies’ plan to “enhance rotational deployments of U.S. strategic assets in and around the peninsula.”
For South Korea, U.S. strategic assets usually mean such high-profile weapon systems as bomber jets, aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines.
Air Force Chief Prepared for World War 3
Credible military capabilities should be in place to back up diplomatic and economic sanctions to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the chief of the United States Forces Korea said Friday.
“The military is in support of these diplomatic and economic actions that are intended to create sufficient pressure to cause (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un to stop and reverse what it is he is doing so far,” Gen. Vincent Brooks said in his lecture to a group of retired and sitting South Korean military commanders.
“As you can see more pressure is needed, but so is more diplomacy and more economic actions,” the commander of 28,500 American forces stationed in South Korea said. “And it has to be done on the foundation of credible and ready military capabilities, and that’s what we are focused on every day in the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance.”
“We know it’s not the only answer to solve the problem by itself,” he said of the military capabilities. “But without it, it’s very difficult for diplomacy and economic actions to gain any kind of leverage or traction,” according to the commander.
He said that Kim Jong-un is now pursuing a strategy to create division among five nations working together to pressure North Korea, referring to South Korea, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.
“I think he knows that when countries around him are operating in a cohesive way focused against him, it will be very difficult for him to resist,” he said, adding, “So the counter to his strategy is cohesion.”
He also called for defense buildup in Seoul and areas surrounding the capital, highlighting that the recent deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system dispelled security threats in the southern portion of South Korea.
“On the Korean Peninsula, several things can be held at risk by North Korea. But with the deployment of things like THAAD, that changed what it is Kim Jong-un can hold at risk, especially the southern portion of the peninsula,” Brooks noted. “This is how it should be viewed.”
“We need to make sure we are adding to the defense that already exists to protect the population in Seoul and the metropolitan area … so that Kim Jong-un cannot hold this population at risk.”
Also touching on the ongoing efforts to transfer the U.S.-held right to control wartime operations of Korean troops back to Seoul, he stressed the importance of enhancing necessary capabilities on the part of Seoul.
“We have to also think about those critical military capabilities that are necessary for the ROK to be able to exercise full control of the alliance forces, the U.S. and South Korea, in time of war,” he said, adding it requires South Korea’s investment, commitment, science and technology, as well as research and development.
Also extolling South Korea’s contribution to cover more than 90 percent of the funds needed to create the new U.S. military complex in Pyeongtaek, Camp Humphreys, he also said, “It will be the first place I will take the president of the U.S. next week,” referring to President Donald Trump’s visit to South Korea.