Relations with North Korea remain tense as President Trump plans to visit Japan and South Korea.
According to Fox News, a B-2 stealth bomber loaded with nuclear weapons flew around the Pacific region. The military states the flight was to “familiarize aircrew with air bases and operations in different geographic combatant commands, enabling them to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency.”
The flight was a test run in anticipation of President Trump’s visit to the region in November. The military also said it was “a visible demonstration of commitment to our allies and enhancing regional security.”
According to Japan Times, the flight itself represents how strained relations have become. The last time a US stealth bomber was flown near either North or South Korea was nearly four years ago.
Military experts have also noted that if the US were to strike North Korea with nuclear weapons, stealth bombers, like the B-2, would be the method of delivery. Meaning that this practice run shows the military is preparing for the worst.
Many are leery of President Trump’s visit to the Pacific region, expecting North Korea to take advantage of the President’s vulnerability and proximity. In recent months North Korea has been increasingly testing its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities.
Last month it conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date and fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles over Japanese territory. Kim Jong-un had also made the threat to attack Guam with “enveloping fire.” There have also been declarations by the rogue nation that they intend to test a massive hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
The US has refused to flinch, sending B-1B bombers from Guam to conduct exercises with Japanese and South Korean Air Forces in the area. President Trump’s visit to the Pacific region is also seen as a sign that the US refuses to be intimidated.
South Korea has welcomed the US military presence with open arms, hoping, according to an anonymous government source, “the U.S. will expand its missions on the Korean Peninsula without any concerns over issues of maintenance, fuel supplies and so forth.”
According to Fox News, US Defense Secretary James Mattis gave a stern warning to North Korea during his Asia tour, “Make no mistake, any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response that is effective and overwhelming.”
Mattis stated that North Korea was quickly becoming a global threat “North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs.”
And given this threat, the US would not allow North Korea to retain nuclear arms. “I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power.”
Stealth nuclear bombers have been deployed to practice in case they are needed. Do you think they will need to be used?
Though tensions run high, it is unlikely that Kim would be foolish enough to attack President Trump during his trip. While Kim has remained obstinate in the face of threats and shows of force, even he must be aware that attacking a US president would be perceived as an act of war that would bring swift retribution to him and his country.
The practice flights by US stealth bombers in the pacific region are evidence enough that the US is prepared to attack North Korea should it prove necessary. Let’s hope it doesn’t.