• Wed
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 10:05am
NewsAsia
KOREAN PENINSULA

US flies B-52 bombers over South Korea in warning to North

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 March, 2013, 6:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 2:17am

The United States said it was flying training missions of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over South Korea, in a clear signal to North Korea at a time of escalating military tensions.

The flights – part of annual joint South Korea-US military exercises – should be seen as underscoring US commitment and capacity to defend Seoul against an attack from the North, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

In response to UN sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test last month, North Korea has warned of a “second Korean war” and threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the South and the United States.

Little said a B-52 from Andersen Air Force base in Guam, flew over South Korea on March 8 as part of a military exercise dubbed “Foal Eagle”.

“The B-52 Stratofortress can perform a variety of missions including carrying precision-guided conventional or nuclear ordnance,” he said on Monday.

B-52s have taken part in annual exercises before, but Little said the Pentagon wanted to underline their use this time given the current, heightened tensions.

“We’re drawing attention to the fact that we have extended deterrence capabilities that we believe are important to demonstrate in the wake of recent North Korean rhetoric,” he said.

We’re drawing attention to the fact that we have extended deterrence capabilities that we believe are important to demonstrate in the wake of recent North Korean rhetoric

That message was echoed in Seoul on Monday by visiting Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, who promised to provide South Korea with every available military resource “offered by the US nuclear umbrella”.

Another B-52 training mission was carried out on Tuesday, Yonhap cited a South Korean military official as saying.

“The bomber struck a simulated target in (eastern) Gangwon province,” the official said.

In a major announcement on Friday, the United States unveiled plans to bolster its own missile defences in direct response to the growing threat posed by North Korea.

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that 14 more interceptors would be stationed in Alaska, increasing by almost half the 30 already deployed along the California and Alaska coastlines.

Hagel said the defence upgrade was designed to “stay ahead of the threat” from North Korea, which is still believed to be years from having a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

The US initiative did not go down well in Beijing, where the Chinese foreign ministry warned that any effort to increase military capacity would only serve to “intensify antagonism”.

China is North Korea’s sole major ally and main trading partner.

Although it backed the latest UN sanctions against Pyongyang, analysts say China’s main concern is to avoid sudden regime collapse in Pyongyang that might result in a US-allied, reunified Korea.

Despite its growing isolation and the stepped-up international pressure, North Korea insists its plan to develop a viable nuclear deterrent is “unshakeable” and non-negotiable.

On the first day of negotiations for a conventional weapons treaty at UN headquarters on Monday, the North’s deputy UN ambassador Ri Tong-il proclaimed the North’s “very proud and powerful” position as the latest nuclear weapons state.

Ri also denounced what he termed a US policy of “nuclear blackmail” that he insisted would “in the long run give birth to more nuclear weapons states”.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

2

This article is now closed to comments

benedict.wong22
If American troops leave Korea, China would be MUCH more willing to withdraw support for North Korea. The so-called alliance between NK and China is a complete facade; both the leaders and the civilian population are fed up with the backwardness of NK leaders and their constant bellicose rhetoric. The NK-China 'alliance' provides absolutely no value to China; China pays out huge aid to NK every year, and their continued support for the regime is detrimental to Chinese diplomacy and foreign policy. But for the usefulness of NK land as a buffer to the nosy American military, China would be much less keen to support such a regime, and would most probably allow the regime to collapse and for the two Koreas to unite under South Korea.
the sun also rises
The development of nuclear weapons and ICBM( inter-continental ballistic missile) by North Korea is out of its deep fear that one day, a war breaks out between she and her neighbour, South Korea,it might be attacked by American's nuclear weapons.Once it has got the strengh to counter-attack,it won't be invaded or threatened by American and her ally,South Korea.So I think the recent tension on Korean peninsula is just a war game show demonstarted by all parties. A real war won't take place since each side knows that the break-out of a real war---either a conventional one or even a nuclear one will be destruction of both sides ! Right ?
 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or