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U.S. forward deploys strategic weapons for deterrence against N. Korea

U.S. forward deploys strategic weapons for deterrence against N. Korea

Posted January. 18, 2018 10:02,   

Updated January. 18, 2018 10:43


The United States has tightened up its military pressure on North Korea, although Pyongyang’s decision to participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games in South Korea is thawing the frozen inter-Korean relationship. Washington is keeping a close watch on the North, implementing forward deployment of strategic weapons near the Korean Peninsula from the beginning of this year. It seems that the United States is making thorough preparations for the possibility that the North’s peace gesture could turn into a nuclear or missile provocation any time.

“The United States is seeing North Korea’s intention to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics as a peace tactics in disguise,” said a senior South Korean military official, adding that Washington is sending a signal to the North that if Pyongyang follows its precedence of making provocations after peace gestures, it would face ultra-strong military responses.

The United States is taking concrete measures, having deployed three B-2 stealth bombers and six B-52 strategic bombers at the Andersen Air Force Base on Guam that flew from the mainland U.S. non-stop. The U.S. Pacific Command said the deployment was a measure aimed at maintaining U.S. deterrence in the region and keeping the U.S. commitment to continued defense of its allied countries.

The predominant view the moves as U.S. measures to put military pressures on the North. Guam is the U.S. military’s hub base in the Asia-Pacific region and the base for sorties for U.S. bombers in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula. Whenever Pyongyang made its nuclear or missile provocations, the U.S. B-1B strategic bombers were deployed to the peninsular. In September 2017, one of the bombers flexed cross the Northern Limit Line for the first for muscle flexing near the North’s nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province.

U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are headed toward the Korean Peninsula, too. Early this month, the U.S. Navy sent USS Carl Vinson from the San Diego base to the Western Pacific region. The aircraft carrier will soon join U.S. Aegis class naval vessels to enter the operational area of the Seventh Fleet. Some observers project that it will then be deployed on waters near the Korean Peninsula with USS Ronald Reagan’s strike group.

U.S. media outlets including The New York Times report that the Trump administration is carrying out training exercises geared toward a possible war with the North, saying that air raid and air drop drills across the U.S. mainland that involve attack helicopters and large carrier aircrafts are being conducted with a war with Pyongyang in mind.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com · Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com