U.S., Japan and South Korea in show of force against North Korea

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Fighter jets from the United States, Japan, and South Korea have flown over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against North Korea, a direct response to North Korea’s long-range missile tests, U.S. officials say.

The mission began on early Sunday when 2 U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. They made contact with 2 Japanese F-2 fighter jets in Japanese airspace, after which they proceeded to the Korean Peninsula, where they were joined by 4 South Korean fighter jets.

U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) said the mission, which lasted approximately 10 hours, was a direct response to North Korea’s long-range missile tests on July 4 and July 28. The mission demonstrates the “ironclad” U.S. commitment to its allies, it added.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” said Pacific Air Forces Commander Terrence O’Shaughnessy. “Diplomacy remains the lead; however, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario.”

O’Shaughnessy added: “If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”

The show of force comes less than 48 hours after North Korea carried out a successful test of a missile capable of reaching large parts of the U.S., including Los Angeles and Chicago. In the hours after the test, U.S. and South Korean forces fired missiles into the Sea of Japan in another show of force.

The latest developments follow months of escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, fueled by North Korea’s frequent missile tests and its advancing nuclear weapons program, as well as U.S. military exercises and statements by U.S. President Donald Trump.

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