https://www.theepochtimes.com/us-south-korea-fly-20-fighter-jets-in-show-of-force-amid-north-korea-nuclear-tensions_4517518.html

The United States and South Korea performed a combined air power demonstration over the Asian country’s western sea early on Tuesday to display their combat readiness to North Korea.

The two allied nations launched 20 fighter jets in total—including 16 F-35A stealth fighters and four F-16 fighters—over the Yellow Sea, a marginal sea of the Western Pacific Ocean located between China and the Korean Peninsula.

“South Korea and the U.S. have demonstrated their strong ability and will to strike quickly and accurately against any North Korean provocations by demonstrating their combined defense capabilities and posture through this combined air force demonstration flight,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday, CNN reported.

In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, U.S. and South Korea Air Force fighter jets fly in formation during a joint drill on June, 7, 2022. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

It comes amid concerns that North Korea may soon give the green light for another nuclear test, the country’s first in nearly five years.

Officials have said that North Korea may have opened an access way to conduct another detonation at its nuclear testing ground in the northeastern town of Punggye-ri, which last hosted a nuclear test in September 2017, when it claimed to have detonated a thermonuclear bomb designed for its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

On Tuesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warned of a forceful response if North Korea would carry out another nuclear test as she traveled to Seoul to meet with South Korean and Japanese allies and discuss the standoff.

“Any nuclear test would be in complete violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. There would be a swift and forceful response to such a test,” said Sherman, The Associated Press reported. “We continue to urge Pyongyang to cease its destabilizing and provocative activities and choose the path of diplomacy.”

Sherman and South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong are planning a meeting with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mori Takeo on Wednesday over the North Korean nuclear issue.

Epoch Times Photo
South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong, right, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman pose for a photo during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, on June 7, 2022. (Jung Yeon-je /Pool Photo via AP)

Tuesday’s display of military readiness came just a day after South Korea and the United States launched eight short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Monday.

The move was “to demonstrate the ability of the combined [U.S.-South Korea] force to respond quickly to crisis events,” the U.S. Forces Korea said, reaffirming Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to the defense of South Korea.

U.S. forces also conducted a bilateral ballistic missile defense exercise with Japan on June 5 to demonstrate “the readiness of the U.S.-Japan alliance to respond to regional threats.”

North Korea launched eight short-range ballistic missiles from four locations on June 5. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the missiles traveled 110–670 kilometers (68–416 miles) eastward at altitudes between 25 and 90 km (15 and 55 miles).

The latest missile test marks the North’s 18th round of missile launches this year, with the previous one being on May 25, when it launched three ballistic missiles just hours after President Joe Biden wrapped up his trip to Asia.

Epoch Times reporter Aldgra Fredly contributed to this report.

From NTD News

Lorenz Duchamps

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