SEOUL–The United States deployed a B-52 bomber on a low-level flight over its ally South Korea on Jan. 10, in a show of force following North Korea’s nuclear test last week.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un maintained that the test on Jan. 6 was of a hydrogen bomb and said it was a self-defense step against a U.S. threat of nuclear war.
North Korea’s fourth nuclear test angered both China, its main ally, and the United States, although the U.S. government and weapons experts doubt the North’s claim that the device was a hydrogen bomb.
The B-52, based in Guam and capable of carrying nuclear weapons, was flanked by two fighter planes, a U.S. F-16 and a South Korean F-15, in a low flight over Osan Air Base, before returning to Guam, the U.S. military said in a statement.
Osan is south of Seoul and roughly 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the North Korean border. The flight was “in response to recent provocative action by North Korea,” the U.S. military said.
“The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and to maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula, to include extended deterrence provided by our conventional forces and our nuclear umbrella,” said U.S. Lt. Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy.
The United States is also considering sending a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to waters off the Korean peninsula next month to join a naval exercise with Seoul, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported without identifying a source. However, U.S. Forces Korea officials said they had no knowledge of the plan.
Full article: U.S. flies B-52 over S. Korea after North’s nuclear test (The Asahi Shimbun)