Ryan Pickrell on September 18, 2017
U.S. bombers and stealth fighters conducted bombing drills in Korea Monday in a show of force against the North.
Two B-1B Lancers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and four F-35 stealth fighters from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni trained alongside four Republic of Korea Air Force F-15K fighter jets and four Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighters, according to U.S. Pacific Command.
“U.S. Pacific Command maintains the ability to respond to any threat,” read a related statement, which stated the drills were in response to North Korea’s missile launch over Japan Thursday.
“Bombers are always a harsh and pointed reminder to North Korea of the bombs that obliterated the country during the Korean War,” Jean H. Lee, a former Associated Press correspondent in Pyongyang and a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center, explained on Twitter.
In response to past provocations, the U.S. would send B-1Bs, powerful conventional bombers, to do a flyby over the Korean Peninsula, but the U.S. and its allies are now carrying out live-fire bombing drills.
North Korea has made significant advancements this year, successfully testing new short-, medium-, intermediate-, and long-range missiles. The North’s intercontinental ballistic missile can strike parts, if not most, of the continental U.S. and carry the purported hydrogen bomb the country tested early this month in its sixth nuclear test.
The U.S. and its allies have been pursuing a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the North Korea problem, but those efforts have failed to deter Pyongyang. Discussions of a military option are becoming more frequent.
“There is a military option,” White House National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster said at a press briefing Friday, adding that it is not America’s preferred course of action. “We’re out of time,” he told reporters.
“I have no problem kicking it to General Mattis” for a military solution, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said at the same briefing, explaining the UN has exhausted its options.
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