Go to contents

U.S. flies bombers off North Korean coast

Posted September. 25, 2017 07:24,   

Updated September. 25, 2017 08:48


B-1B Lancer strategic bombers of the United States, dubbed as “the swan of death,” flew Saturday beyond the Northern Limit Line (NLL), which was an armed protest of the highest level. The B-1B Lancer bombers’ flight was made just four days after U.S. President Donald Trump said, “We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” This was the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone any U.S. fighter or bomber has flown off North Korea’s Coast in the 21st century.

This armed protest was led by solely the U.S. Air Force, and more than 10 bombers – largest number in the history of armed protests against North Korea – were dispatched in the operation. This was the highest-level military warning against the threat of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who said in his official statement, “We will consider the highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

It is unprecedented that the United States declared that its B-1B bombers flew to the farthest north of the ceasefire line beyond the NLL, as well as that it conducted an operation on its own without South Korea. Given that the U.S. forces conducted joint operations escorted by F-15Ks of South Korea to stage an armed protest against North Korea with the B-1B bombers, some interpret this protest as a message that the U.S. will engage in independent military actions if necessary.

“Korea and the United States closely coordinated to conduct the latest operation,” the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae announced Sunday. “It is a strong signal of our two countries to bring North Korea to the negotiating table and urge it to stop its provocations.” It means that the operation was a continuation of rotating the strategic assets that the Unites States deployed to the Korean Peninsula, and was a measure taken after a thorough consultation of the Korea-U.S. alliance. However, the presidential office did not provide any details regarding when and how the operation had been consulted.

Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com · Jeong-Hun Park sunshade@donga.com