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F-35B aircraft, joined B-1B Lancer bombers for the first time in a mission with Japan and South Korean in a deliberate show of force against North Korea.

The US Air Force have confirmed that two B-1Bs from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; four U.S. Marine F-35Bs from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan; two Japan Air Self-Defense Force Koku Jieitai F-2s; and four South Korean air force F-15Ks executed this mission to emphasise the ‘combined ironclad commitment to the defence of allies and the U.S. homeland’.

This mission was conducted in direct response to North Korea’s intermediate-range ballistic missile launch, which flew directly over northern Japan amid rising tension over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development programmes.

“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly,” said Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, who just returned from an unscheduled visit to Japan to meet with his counterparts.

“This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our Allies and underscores the broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat,” O’Shaughnessy added. “Our forward-deployed force will be the first to the fight, ready to deliver a lethal response at a moment’s notice if our nation calls.”

Over the course of the 10-hour mission, the F-35Bs, B-1B bombers and Koku Jieitai fighters flew together over waters near Kyushu, Japan.

The US and South Korean aircraft then flew across the Korean Peninsula and practised attack capabilities by releasing live weapons at the Pilsung Range training area before returning to their respective home stations.

17 COMMENTS

  1. America really knows how to defuse a potential conflict. North Korea fires missile over Japan because of a military exercics by the US and so they fly strategic bombers near by. Maybe just maybe it might be better not to poke the bear that is already isolated. Let’s hope Korea doesn’t now escalate the problem again in response. the US tactics in this case are just nuts.

    • That is the most delusional assessment I have ever heard. North Korea’s leader is a doddering mad man who is fat as a hot air balloon. Starves , murders , tortures his people to retain power and I am sure also just for the shits and giggles of it all.
      Are you genuinely expecting the Japanese and there greatest ally the United States to respond with “What’s threats of Nuclear annihlation between freind’s? They have threatened Guam, Japan, continue daily to threaten South Korea.
      Perhaps the United States needs to be even more clear. That launching a nuke at Guam would result in nuclear bombardment of North Korea. That is the premise of retaliation and mutually assured destruction.

  2. The solution to this US/NK situation is not sexy, complicated or difficult. It’s just to ignore them. You’re going to have to live with the fact that they may have a few nuclear weapons. So what? You have enough to turn their country into glass. The alternative is military intervention. There are no options for military intervention that would stop Seoul being the target of a massive artillery barrage. Military options are a non-starter.

    The question is, once you’ve decided not to intervene militarily, how do you keep the peace? The answer is that you scale back military exercises to the minimum level needed to sustain operational efficiency. You do not attempt to provoke or make grand shows of force. Keep your annual exercises to a size and scope similar to those conducted for decades. Trust me, the South Koreans ignore 99% of North Korean rhetoric and get on with their lives relatively untroubled. We should do the same. Right now Kim is preying on Trump’s obvious naivety when it comes to foreign affairs and his general inability to resist “punching back” when confronted. Sometimes in life we have to defuse tension. We don’t fight everyone that troubles us; it is reasonable to walk away confident that we would win a fight but we choose to avoid starting one. This is not a weak approach; it’s a sensible one.

    • Completely agree.

      Anyone that thinks aggressive military exercises is going to make them back down, needs to take a step back and think it through and think of the situation from NK side. No matter how deluded NK government is, they can’t really believe that an attack on any other country would end well for them, but equally they are scared that the US will attack them.

      For decades the west has tried to isolate economically NK and has backed them into a corner, where they feel like the victim, and we know what can happen once people start feeling like victims, they can do silly things. Right now they see the US with its massive military saber rattling at its doors and let’s face it, its not deluded for them to think the US could attack them.

      The best way to maintain the peace, and avoiding NK from doing something stupid, is to try and descalating the problem is to stop make the first step. Let’s face it, the west could wipe the floor with NK military very easily, even without these military exercises.

      Right now we are heading to war and it could be a war that could have serious bad nuclear consequences.

      • Totally agree Steve. All we get is how bad the North Koreans, how dangerous, they shouldn’t develop nuclear weapons, and in the same breath we get told about yet another massive US South Korean exercise.

        If I was a North Korean citizen I’d want a full nuclear arsenal to keep the lot at bay.

        It’s called a “deterrent”.

        • Pretty sure that South Korea just wants to get on with its life and that the US wants to wind down its expenditure and presence there.

          Also pretty sure a North Korean citizen would just like a burger joint, a Samsung tv and an end to the internal oppression rather than a nuke. Nuclear missile technology isn’t just a detterence, it would be a phenomenal source of income for the Kim regime. How much would Iran pay for the tech, for example?

    • Hi Nick,

      I concur with the thread from your first post. Before I start I want to state categorically I think Kim is a very bad man who in an ideal world shouldn’t be in power or anywhere near a button. But he is so I’ve another perspective to share..

      Kim’s old man did a deal in principle with Bill Clinton. Headlines were;

      1) Security guarantees
      2) Recognition of state legitimacy
      3) Trade normalization process begins
      4) PUBLIC handshake between the old man and Bill for the world to see

      But deal was in last weeks of Presidency and Israel & Palestinians told him they thought they could have a deal if Clinton mediated. He agreed to do so but couldn’t do that and Kim’s Pop.

      The ME peace attempt failed and a slighted NK were very upset but willing to continue with GWB.

      All detailed in Madeleine Albright’s memoir – Madame Secretary

      Then came 9/11 and Bush’s axis of evil followed by Sadam, Gadaffi, Assad etc.

      From reading the Chinese press it seems little has changed in terms of what NK wants and that it remains within America’s gift to deliver it. China is being used as an excuse by America for their unwillingness to do a deal.

      Kim’s rhetoric can be read both ways but I read it together with his actions as a race against time to make it impossible for America to take him out.

      The language he uses however make if difficult for a democracy with a free media not to cry ‘appeasement’ or ‘we must do something’ both of which are very loud noises today. Some of which of course is legitimate, if it’s seen to work then every despot will want one and that’s also a scary path.

      In a way though it’s an eternal moral dilemma. Bad men are in charge all over the world and when the only way out we’ve created for them is a hang mans noose, pick up truck mob killing and civil war fermentation it’s no wonder Kim’s taking the action he is.

      I wonder what life would have been like if Clinton had chosen NK over the ME and Iraq hadn’t of happened.

      Life…

  3. Think for one solid second what you are saying. That the sovereign nation of ,South Korea, cannot hold military exercises in its’ own territory with its’ allies.
    That is the equivalent of saying Poland or any of the Baltic States cannot hold exercises in their borders. Lest Moscow conduct Nuclear tests and decide to test an ICBM by launching it over Warsaw to voice their petty disputes. THAT would be the precedent being set. I do believe the people of London, Paris, and Berlin would be singing a different song.
    But I digress in this case it is different because only Asia and the United States are threatened. Once again it seems in vogue throughout both the U.K. And continental Europe to blame the U.S.. Then use it as an excuse to expunge all the murders and oppressions of a totalitarian communist regime. After all it worked to blame the U.S. in Vietnam Europe even got to keep over 250k men guarding it despite placing itself in opposition to the United States. Why not do it again and if Los Angeles or Tokyo or even Guam vanish in a Nuclear fireball oh well. It’s only Americans and Japanese no need to be concerned.
    Military action a nonstarter? A choice between Seoul and L.A.? Seoul would lose every time.

    • it’s got nothing to do with the right to hold military excerises, it’s called restraint. The exercise could have been delayed until the tension is reduced. If your other half is in a bad mood, you avoid starting a disagreement until they are in a better mood, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the disagreement you just choose your timing.

      • If you delay the exercises you’re giving the Kim regime exactly what it wants. The last thing appropriate in this case is to reward his behaviour. The orange idiot is right that we’ve been talking to these people for a couple of decades and all we have now is an unstable (both internally and externally) nation that could now have the ability to project nuclear weapons over a whole continent. You’re suggestion that South Korea should halt exercises that it’s been undertaking for decades because of this missile launch is reaffirming Kim’s belief that North Korea must have nukes if it wants to affect those around it.
        That’s not even taking into account the other nations this scumbag will proliferate the technology to. If this isn’t stopped soon, preferably by a NATO/Russia/China alliance, we’ll see similar regimes with these missiles springing up elsewhere with little notice and that’s in nobodies interest.
        Forget selling plans and data to the next Libya, he could soon sell complete systems and make an undesirable nation a nuclear power in very short order.

    • Fine Elliott, but in that case why is the West complaining about North Korea having exercises and test-firing a few missiles, even to the extent of threatening extreme economic measures, and military action?

      Talk first, rattle spears last.

      • They’re firing potentially nuclear capable missiles OVER Japan. That’s hardly the same as a military exercise that’s been held regularly for decades and of a type the North Koreans do themselves. False equivalency.

        They’re testing nukes near the Chinese border. At what point does the international community say enough is enough, this is getting out of hand?

        North Korea thrives on stuff like this. Special ops teams being landed with target lists, people snatched, warships sunk, islands shelled. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. They want attention and will ramp up tensions until they get it. I’m no Trump fan, but he was right when he said 25 years of talking has gotten us nowhere. Kim is a blackmailer that will promise never to reveal his ‘info’ but keep coming back for more when he needs it anyway.

  4. It’s a tough one because N Korea want nuclear weapons, they see it as the ultimate deterrent, and in their eyes guarantees their safety against US imperialism (in their words)

    I believe even if there was compromise made through US troop reduction, N Korea would still develop the weapon and renege on any deal made.

    N Korea are not like the Iranians, Iran wants to be a player in the Middle East and beyond and wants its population to prosper, that’s why it’s had to play ball. N Korea is a different animal, the leadership do not care about isolation, there is only one goal for them and that’s nuclear weapons.

    The only thing possible imo is to restart negotiations, they more or less are nuclear capable, so perhaps we could limit the range of their missiles or the amount of warheads stockpiled in return for US troop reduction in S Korea.

    That is what they keep saying, that these military excersises are a practice invasion, so give them what they want and let them go back on their word as that would infuriate China. Or maybe they would actually play ball, but we never know until we actually try so we must try restart negotiations.

    • We do know they have violated every agreement in the last 60yrs.
      The presence of the US army in Korea is much less than it was in 92. Further Reduction would be an act idiocy.
      You do not give murderers and tyrants what they wish. Especially when what they wish is the ability to roast a city on the other side of the planet. The thought you can negotiate in good faith with a man who had his own brother killed is a foolish endeavor.

  5. Have no doubt that what Kim Jong-un really wants is the entire Korean peninsula under his control. He may be hoping to use nuclear blackmail to achieve this. For example he may nuke Guam (or somewhere similar), and then say Tokyo/LA/etc. will be next unless the US withdraws and South Korea capitulates. In his mind South Korea is part of his domain and the status quo is an invasion of Korea against which the use of nuclear weapons would be completely justified.

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