The U.S. and South Korea on Wednesday intensified its pressure on North Korea by deploying stealth bombers and prohibiting civilian exchanges in response to the recent nuclear test from the regime of Kim Jong-un. According to Pentagon officials, via a report from WFAA, U.S. stealth bombers conducted exercises with South Korean jets south of Seoul on Wednesday to “demonstrate the capabilities” of the U.S.-South Korean alliance.
Four U.S. F-22 fighter jets arrived early in the morning and flew over the Osan base, located south of Seoul, during joint training in which the Allies demonstrated its capacity to “crush the enemy’s reckless provocation,” a South Korean general was quoted as saying.
Gen. Jeong Byung-doo, the chief of staff of the South Korean air force, thanked the aviators involved in the flyover and released the following statement, which was obtained by CNN.
“They demonstrated commanding spirit to the world and resolve to crush the enemy’s reckless provocation through the successful combined flyover. We will further develop the relationship of cooperation to support peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the world.”
“The F-22 ‘Raptor’ is the most capable air superiority fighter in the world, and it represents one of many capabilities available for the defense of this great nation,” Lt. Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the deputy commander of the U.S. military command in South Korea, said in a statement. “The U.S. maintains an ironclad commitment to the defense of South Korea.”
The F-22 is a fifth-generation aircraft that occupies a major role in the Air Force Pentagon services. The aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter but has additional capabilities, including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles. The military’s recent show of force reflects the gravity of the situation in the Korean peninsula.
On January 6, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in what the international community considers an illegal disguised test of long-range missiles.
North Korea bragged about the “spectacular success” of its first hydrogen bomb test, a defiant act that leader Kim Jong Un, in a statement read on state television, said would “make the world… look up to our strong nuclear country.”
The deployment of the fighters is interpreted as a new show of force from Seoul and Washington against the communist state after the Allies implemented new military response measures.
After the nuclear test in January, the USA sent a B-25 bomber to fly over South Korea in a show of strength. The B52 conducted a low-level flight before heading back to Andersen Air Base in Guam, where it is stationed.
The U.S., as well as the governments of South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and France, criticized North Korea’s rocket launch, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the following statement regarding the incident.
“This is the second time in just over a month that the DPRK has chosen to conduct a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well.”
North Korea, which defends the scientific nature of space launch and considers nuclear weapons its main source of self-defense, has not yet reacted to the military escalation. Undoubtedly, future threats or actions would further raise tensions.
Seoul banned all civilian exchanges with North Korea, including the delivery of humanitarian aid, rejecting 17 applications from organizations and individuals to travel or ship products to the neighboring country. Government-level exchanges between the countries were suspended in punitive measures South Korea took in May 2010, two months after North Korea torpedoed the Cheonan, a South Korean Navy corvette.
Foreign exchange earnings are of great importance to North Korea because of the strong isolation of its economy, which has been battered by previous UN sanctions.
The government of the conservative Park Geun-hye recently asked its citizens to avoid visiting North Korean restaurants abroad for security reasons, another move apparently aimed at blocking foreign exchange earners of Pyongyang.
NK News wrote that MoU spokesperson Jung Joon-hee emphasized the gravity of the situation, even though it is not against South Korean law to visit the restaurants.
“Please refrain from any kind of activities financing North Korea under the current situation,” Jung told journalists after Park called for “all possible measures” to sanction North Korea.
In recent years, it has become popular with tourists and South Korean migrants in Beijing and other cities in Asia to visit the growing number of North Korean restaurants, which are allegedly operated by the communist state.
[Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]