As President Trump prepared to speak before the United Nations, where he was expected to address the growing tensions on the North Korean peninsula, U.S. bombers and fighters joined aircraft from the South Korean military and Japanese Defense Force to send a message of their own to North Korea’s despotic regime.
In what U.S. Defense Officials are referring to as a “Show of Force Flight,” two B-1B Lancer bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; four U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fifth-generation advanced fighters from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan; four South Korean F-15K fighters and four Japanese F-2 fighters flew over the Korean peninsula in a dramatic formation, before dropping live ordnance on the Pilsung Range training area on Sunday. The range, which is located near the center of South Korea on an east to west axis is less than one hundred miles from the border with North Korea.
This most recent show of force directed at Kim’s North Korean regime came after yet another ballistic missile launch, this time, of what was believed to be an intermediate range missile that U.S. and South Korean defense officials tracked as its trajectory took it over America’s ally, Japan. The launch came only hours after North Korea threatened to “sink” the nation.
Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including [South] Korea and Japan in the face of these threats remains ironclad.” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Rob Manning said. “We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation and to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the threat from North Korea.”
He went on to explain that, had the missile been deemed a threat to U.S. assets or American allies, “We would have taken appropriate action.”
Although many have criticized the U.S. strategy of threatening Kim Jong un with force, because of the quagmire of issues that would undoubtedly result in war, Manning made it clear that the United States has not counted out the use of kinetic means to muzzle Kim’s nuclear ambitions.
“The full range of capabilities are at our disposal against the threat from North Korea,” Manning said. “North Korea continues to pose a threat to global security and stability and must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its illegal programs.”
American Secretary of Defense James Mattis echoed this sentiment on Monday, when asked if there were military options at the U.S.’ disposal in the region that could be employed without putting South Korea’s capital city of Seoul at risk of obliteration by way of North Korean artillery.
“Yes there are. But I will not go into details.” He said.
Images courtesy of the Department of Defense