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U.S. B-52 bomber flies over East Sea on day of GSOMIA announcement

U.S. B-52 bomber flies over East Sea on day of GSOMIA announcement

Posted November. 25, 2019 08:11,   

Updated November. 25, 2019 08:11


On Friday when South Korea announced its decision to stay in an intelligence sharing pact between Seoul and Japan, a U.S. B-52 bomber flied near the Korean Peninsula and Japan, a month after it was spotted near Seoul.

Aircraft Spots, a website that monitors military air movements, said Sunday that a B-52 bomber departed Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on Friday and entered the East Sea area through the Korea Strait. It then flied north from the borderline of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) to the Japanese archipelago to the Tsugaru Strait before returning to Anderson. At one point, it integrated with the Japan Air Self‑Defense Force’s F-15s and the United States Forces Japan’s KC-135.

Experts say that it is a warning against North Korea that has been increasing pressure on the United States with its “year-end” deadline while avoiding nuclear talks with Washington. “There is a possibility that Washington sees Pyongyang’s recent moves as efforts to find justification for its future provocations at the end of the year,” said a source from the South Korean military. “By flying the weapon that Pyongyang is most afraid of, it is sending out a strong warning against it.” Others argue that it might be to monitor activities such as preparation for the launch of SLBM or building new submarines in Wonsan and Sinpo.

It could also be seen as an armed demonstration against China and Russia, proving that the defense alliance among Seoul, Washington and Tokyo remains strong even after the GSOMIA crisis and warning that it will not just sit and watch Beijing and Moscow escalating tensions such as by sending their military planes to the ADIZ.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com