Seoul, Washington conduct air drills with B-52 bomber
Seoul, Apr 5 (EFE).- The air forces of South Korea and the United States on Wednesday carried out joint air drills involving at least one strategic B-52 bomber, according to the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.
This is the second time in the last month – coinciding with the large-scale springtime military exercises – that the B-52, with the capacity to carry nuclear weapons, has been deployed in the peninsula.
The recent maneuvers come just days after Pyongyang for the first time unveiled tactical nuclear warheads, underlining its willingness to use its short-range arsenal for potential use in and around the peninsula.
In a message published last week by North Korea’s official KCNA agency, the regime criticized the joint drills Seoul and Washington have been carrying out since March and condemned the deployment of the B-52 on the Korean peninsula for an exercise on Mar.6.
South Korean and US F-35 stealth fighters, as well as Pentagon’s F-16 fighters were also a part of the exercises on Wednesday.
The operation was carried out to improve the interoperability of both air forces and “as training to protect strategic bombers from enemy air threats,” according to a statement from the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.
The training focused on practicing procedures to protect the strategic bomber from potential aerial enemy threats, and strengthening the allied forces’ interoperability and combined operational capabilities, according to the South Korean ministry.
“The successive deployments to the peninsula of key US strategic assets have represented the US putting into action its determination to defend the Republic of Korea and its efforts to enhance the credibility of extended deterrence,” the ministry said in a press release, referring to South Korea’s official name.
Last year, Washington made a commitment to Seoul termed as extended deterrence, which includes the US sending the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, to defend its ally against Pyongyang. EFE