U.S. Deploys B-1Bs, F-35s To Korea In "Unprecedented" Show Of Force

A day after President Donald Trump finally broke his silence on North Korea after the isolated nation twice provoked its geopolitical adversaries in the span of just four days, Yonhap is reporting that the US  sent four F-35B stealth jets and two nuclear-capable B-1B strategic bombers to train with South Korea's F-15K fighter jets over the Korean Peninsula on Thursday in what it described as an "unprecedented" escalation of the allies' military response to N.Korea's provocations.

Thursday’s air-to-ground precision-strike drills were conducted a mock bombing drill, which simulated a surgical strike of key enemy facilities, over the Pilsung Range in the eastern province of Gangwon.

The "unprecedented" combined maneuver involved the F-35Bs from Japan and the long-range bombers based in Guam as well as a squadron of four F-15Ks, Yonhap said.

They used MK-84, MK-82 and GBU-32 bombs, according to Yonhap. In a statement, US Pacific Command said the flyover was a "direct response to North Korea's intermediate range ballistic missile launch." "North Korea's actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly," said Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of Pacific Air Forces.

The exercise was designed to "strongly counter North Korea's repeated ballistic missile tests and development of nuclear weapons," a South Korean official told CNN.

In response, KCNA, the state-run North Korean news agency, threatened more missile tests, saying “we will in the future, too, conduct ballistic rocket launching drill targeting the Pacific where the US imperialist aggressor forces’ bases are stationed."

The demonstration followed the formal conclusion of the annual 11-day military drills between the US and the South known as the “Ulchi-Freedom Guardian” war games. The drills followed a demonstration of "overwhelming force" from the South Korean military that was ordered in response to the isolated North's latest provocation.

Also mobilized was a KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling plane, a defense source said.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive and one of the most controversial weapons systems in US history, is held out as "the cornerstone" of US defense in the Pacific. Based at a US base in Iwakuni, the first of 16 fighters arrived in Japan in January, showing Washington's "commitment to the defense of Japan with the most capable and modern equipment in the US inventory," a US Marines official told CNN at the time.

According to the Marines, the deployment of the fighters to Japan was ordered under the Obama administration, and was not related to ongoing tensions with North Korea.

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Meanwhile, Defense Secretary James Mattis appeared to push back against the president, saying that the US is “never out of diplomatic solutions” when it comes to North Korea. Trump had tweeted on Wednesday that he was tired of paying the North “extortion money,” and hinted that a military strike could be in the offing.

The South Korean Air Force characterized the training as a joint "air interdiction operation," saying it showed the allies' “resolve to deal resolutely” with the North's provocations.

"Our Air Force has the capability of conducting perfect combined operations," Lt. Gen. Won In-chul, commander of South Korean Air Force Operations Command. "No matter when, how and where the enemy provokes, we will perfectly retaliate to make it feel an insurmountable sense of fear and deep regret."

A US military official reportedly told Yonhap that the exercises were meant to intimidate the North.

"The U.S. did not dispatch bombers (to Korea) during the exercise in hopes that the reduced scale would send a positive signal to North Korea and the region," a U.S. Forces Korea official told Yonhap News Agency, requesting anonymity.

The US later released a more complete statement about the demonstrations, noting that it was the first time the F-35 stealth jets - America's "most advanced" military aircraft - joined in the military exercises on the peninsula.

Defying North Korea’s threat that the UK would face a “miserable end” if it involved itself in the standoff, Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday committed to “close cooperation” with Japan. She slammed the North for firing an intermediate-range intercontinental ballistic missile over the Northern Japanese island of Hokkaido earlier this week, calling the launch an “outrageous provocation."

“We condemn North Korea in the strongest terms possible for this reckless act which was a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” May said, according to Bloomberg. “We must also tackle new and emerging threats together through counter terrorism and cyber security.”

On Friday, the North launched three short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, its first missile test since restrictive new UN sanctions took effect on Aug. 5. The sanctions prohibit imports of North Korean seafood, coal and ferrous metals.

Still, a full-scale conflict would likely result in massive loss of life during its opening movements, as the North’s artillery would bombard the South Korean capital with lethal shells, potentially killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Like former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said in an interview with the American Prospect, the tensions between the North and the US are “just a sideshow.”

“Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

As a reminder, this is what a "hot" war attack by Pyongyang could look like from the South Korean perspective:

In the event of a conventional conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, North Korean artillery is expected to bombard the South's defences along the Demilitarised Zone as well as shelling Seoul, which is less than 50 miles south of the border.


Massed tanks and infantry units, assisted by saboteurs and agents already in the South, would attempt to swiftly seize Seoul and other key cities and facilities in South Korea before the United States and, potentially, other allied nations could land reinforcements.

As tensions between the belligerents have continued to escalate this week, China sought to throw cold water on its allies’ aggressive posturing by saying it would “never allow” another full-scale military conflict on the Korean peninsula, according to Russia Today.

Defense Spokesman Ren Guoqiang reiterated China’s position that the North Korean crisis should be resolved through dialogue, and insisted on the denuclearization of the peninsula, according to local media agency Sina.

Russia also insists that a military solution not be an option. At the most recent meeting of the UN Security Council, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, reiterated the country’s support for Beijing and Moscow’s “double freeze” initiative. Nebenzya called for Pyongyang to halt all nuclear and missile tests while the US and South Korea cease the military build-up in the region.


Itinerant HowdyDoody Thu, 08/31/2017 - 15:30 Permalink

Trump claims talking 25 years hasn't helped. My memory must be failing me. Has Trump ever visited with Kim? Has any American leader ever talked to a Kim?There's also no certainty about what a N Korean strike would entail. The idea that NK would casually kill 10 million people in Seoul with artillery is speculation ... Koreans are Koreans, and NKoreans do not hate (South) Koreans., just Americans .... maybe.

In reply to by HowdyDoody

MEFOBILLS Itinerant Thu, 08/31/2017 - 19:25 Permalink

Critics of this position will retort that the deal that Carter and Clinton negotiated in 1994 failed to stop the DPRK from developing nuclear weapons because the North Koreans cheated, and would cheat again if given the opportunity. Blaming the DPRK for the collapse of the cooperation that Carter’s mission made possible ignores the history of broken promises and strategic blunders on both sides, as each came to believe the other was exploiting the agreement for unilateral advantage. Consequently, it is wrong to assume that because 12 years later, North Korea tested and developed nuclear weapons, this was an inevitable outcome of the negotiations Carter and Clinton entered into in 1994. http://thediplomat.com/2017/05/time-for-jimmy-carter-to-go-back-to-nort…

In reply to by Itinerant

Mr 9x19 07564111 Thu, 08/31/2017 - 08:25 Permalink

it is all about telling to pentagon to go fuck themselves. the 1st who attack loose the war.exactly opposite of original corea war... the 1st who tried to attack had a chance to succed, it ended in draw, now the 1st to attack [usa] got a global retaliation and get wiped from the map by all those wanting to unpeg from petro dollar and gtfo of swift system. NK will never make the 1st step, is all planned as i tell you. usa know they don't have other choice but to accept the humiliation consisting of countries having nuke programs to tell em to stay the fuck outside of the perimeter. i strongly recommand to south america countries to buy portative systems  to apply a fucking brickwall to the pentagon will.because south america will go down in flame within a decade. the reel risk of collapse is not about finance because ppt are keeping the castle, problem will come from american deep state decision takers, that will enable a all in for the preservation of their interests, putting in balance the whole nation, making it implodes, having bounces to others nations, such UE ones especially.shoult not take more than a hand of years now. desperation is touchable.

In reply to by 07564111

MarsInScorpio Expat Thu, 08/31/2017 - 12:27 Permalink

Expat:Please tell us you were making some kind of bizarre attempt at something when you stated Germany bombed Pearl Harbor.If that's what you really thought was the truth, then you are entirely too ignorant to post at ZH.In the future, I'm going to skip over your comments, because they are the rantings of an ignorant beast.

In reply to by Expat

lucitanian Haus-Targaryen Thu, 08/31/2017 - 11:15 Permalink

Do the MIC and Zio-Wall street "advisers" who are simply the messenger boys of the real power behind the throne, know how to write anything other than a diktat. Real communication requires the ability to understand the other side.1, A war would be a good change of subject from the death of dollar debt hegemony.2, A war would be an easy way to pass by any debt ceiling.3, If you think that Trump is a puppet of the hidden government, well Soul and Tokyo have suffered the same fate for the last 60 years, so expecting a reasoned argument against military action from them would be difficult.4, This is all about internal politics, and long term geo-stratagy of globalist TPTB and nothing to do with any real threat of N. Korea. And quite frankly they don't give a shit how many Koreans or Japanese might die. They will just hold K.J. Un responsible for all casualties.So, my money is on the 50/50 chance that in the next few hours an early morning raid, bombing the missile sights, the nuclear development bunkers and known artillery, medium range missile emplacements and command control, as well as Pyongyang senior administration is highly likely. The result will be catastrophic for for N. Koreans, for Japan and S. Korea.  And quite frankly for the world in general. The plan they have is a complete denial of reason, and a last ditch attempt to exert US hegemony in a world that has already lost any reason for it.  

In reply to by Haus-Targaryen

east of eden Mr.BlingBling Thu, 08/31/2017 - 08:04 Permalink

For all intents and purposes, until the US can equip it's carriers with fighter jets that have considerably longer range than the F-18, then the groups are useless and sitting ducks for a counterstrike (i.e. Sunburn or Kaliber missile). And I shouldn't need to remind anyone that both those missile travel at 10 feet above the water at hypersonic speed - not likely anything is going to take them out, ounce launched.The stated combat range for the older version of the F-18 was only 330 NM. I believe the 'new' combat radius of the Super Hornet is somewhere between 550 and 700 NM, depending on config, but still, that is the distance OUT and BACK with1 houor loiter time, so if you are talking about sticking a carrier 400 nm off a coast, it is still dead meat.

In reply to by Mr.BlingBling

east of eden gregga777 Thu, 08/31/2017 - 08:40 Permalink

Really? What a hoot! Never knew that. They will lie and lie and lie about just about everything won't they.I want to see the new, so called advanced laser's on these carriers take out multiple incoming rockets travelling at a mile a second (with onboard avoidance algoritmhs screaming).ANd worse than all that is the fact that the Russian Kaliber's can travel UNDERWATER before emerging close to their target and going hypersonic. Good luck with that. If I were running the Pentagon, I would be trying everything i knew to get a stand down.

In reply to by gregga777

veritas semper… Mr.BlingBling Thu, 08/31/2017 - 13:18 Permalink

U.S. Deploys B-1Bs, F-35s To Korea In "Unprecedented" Show Of Force Let me refraze this so it matches reality:The armed arm ,the "muscles" of the AAZ Empire,aka the US, deploys B-1Bs,F-35s to Korea in "unprecedented" show of stupidity and criminality for the whole world to "enjoy".As if the world had any doubt about it .But the US has to show again,that it is a rogue nation,run by a bunch of thugs and criminals. The US does  not know the words diplomacy,mutual trade benefits,cooperation, détente and peace. It only knows destruction,war,crimes against humanity ,lies and theft.This may be viewed as "unpatriotic" by the "armchair generals" here,but it does not change the reality in which we live.And no,I'm not "hating" America,I hate only what it has become. That America you think you live in and want to fight for does not exist anymore.So,spare me the flag waving BS. I'm tired of these non stop  war drums.I voted for Trump to stop all these illegal wars and and improve relations with Russia.And I got Bush no 4 (or Clinton no 2).I guess i should have listen to my consciousness  telling me not to vote(as I did before). But I didn't want a known criminal as president. I HOPED that the UNKNOWN UNKNOWN would be better. Big,biggest,bigly mistake.Not that this would have changed anything . But I would have had a serene conscience I did not give my consent by voting.

In reply to by Mr.BlingBling

Swampster (not verified) Thu, 08/31/2017 - 07:48 Permalink