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US Bombers Fly with Allies Amid Rising Tensions with North Korea

In a clear warning to North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, the U.S. Air Force deployed supersonic bombers alongside allied fighter jets near the Korean Peninsula.

Response To N. Korea’s Recent Missile Test

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This move comes in response to North Korea’s recent missile test, which demonstrated the capability to deliver a nuclear strike on the mainland United States.

Images captured the presence of two U.S. B-1B Lancers flying in formation with U.S. F-16s, South Korean F-15Ks, and Japanese F-2 fighter aircraft.

Aerial Display of Strength

These long-range strategic bombers, known for their capacity to carry substantial conventional payloads, participated in their second trilateral aerial exercise of the year, as confirmed by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

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Strength in Cooperation

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The Indo-Pacific Command emphasized the significance of the collective forces’ high-end interoperability, highlighting the strength of the trilateral relationship between the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. This international cooperation serves as a reflection of shared values and determination in the face of challenges to regional stability, according to an INDOPACOM statement.

Counteracting North Korea’s Provocations

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The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul reported that this training exercise was specifically designed to counter North Korea’s nuclear provocations. It took place off South Korea’s southern Jeju Island in the East China Sea, marking the 13th instance of a U.S. bomber deployment near or over the Korean Peninsula this year.

North Korea’s Recent Missile Test

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On Monday, Pyongyang declared a successful test of its latest and largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in its arsenal, named the Hwasong-18. This missile is propelled by a solid-fuel rocket, enabling quicker arming and launch. North Korean state media released images the following day, showcasing Kim Jong Un’s personal attendance at the launch, marking their first ICBM test in five months.

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Hwasong-18’s Capabilities

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The Hwasong-18, fired into the East Sea (Sea of Japan), is believed to have an operational range exceeding 9,000 miles. This range is sufficient to deliver nuclear warheads directly to major American cities, escalating concerns.

North Korea’s Justification

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North Korea has justified its missile development as a response to perceived hostility from South Korea and the United States. In response to these actions, the two allies have intensified their own military training.

International Disapproval

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The United States has consistently criticized North Korea for employing launch technology prohibited by United Nations Security Council resolutions that aim to curb its nuclear weapons program.

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China and Russia Enabling N. Korea

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Diplomatic tensions escalated at the United Nations on Tuesday. American officials have accused China and Russia of enabling North Korea’s missile launches through their vetoing of additional sanctions.

Trilateral Mechanism Activated

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In response to the missile threat, the United States, South Korea, and Japan have activated a trilateral mechanism for real-time tracking and sharing of information related to North Korea’s missile activities.

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