U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers fly out from Guam Air Force base to Participated in bilateral mission with South Korea and Japan that North Korea threatened to strike with missiles
09 Aug 2017, 12:34 ( 7 days ago) | updated: 09 Aug 2017, 12:42 ( 7 days ago)
The 10-hour mission from Guam's Andersen Air Force Base took place on Monday and was the first for the aircraft and crews recently deployed from South Dakota's Ellsworth Air Force Base to support U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence missions, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs stated. How we train is how we fight and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight,' one of the pilots with the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-1 said. The crews practiced intercept and formation training, which gave them an opportunity to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills. These flights with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) demonstrate solidarity between Japan, ROK and the U.S. to defend against provocative and destabilizing actions in the Pacific theater,' according to a release from the Air Force. The bombers flew in the vicinity of Kyushu, Japan, the East China Sea, and the Korean peninsula. The U.S. released photos of the mission late Tuesday - seemingly in response to North Korea's threat to strike Guam.
North Korea has said it is considering carrying out missile strikes on the US Pacific territory of range rockets at Guam, where US strategic bombers are based. A spokesman for the Korean People's Army, in a statement carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency, said early Wednesday the strike plan will be 'put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment' once leader Kim Jong Un makes a decision. Guam, which is roughly 2,128 miles from North Korea, is home to both Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam housing thousands of American service members and their families. Roughly 28 percent of the island is occupied by the U.S. military. The base houses bomber assurance and deterrence missions, including six B-52s which the air force says provide 'strategic global strike capability [to] deter potential adversaries and provide reassurance to allies' and that they are ready to go. Residents of the island expressed concern over North Korea's threat. Guam, which is roughly 2,128 miles from North Korea, is home to both Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam housing thousands of American service members and their families.
Roughly 28 percent of the island is occupied by the U.S. military. The base houses bomber assurance and deterrence missions, including six B-52s which the air force says provide 'strategic global strike capability [to] deter potential adversaries and provide reassurance to allies' and that they are ready to go.Residents of the island expressed concern over North Korea's threat. The UN recently approved further economic sanctions on North Korea, which Pyongyang said were a "violent violation of our sovereignty", warning the US would "pay a price". The statement reported a military statement issued on Tuesday, which probably came in response to US military drills in Guam.But it is the latest stage in a heating up of rhetoric between the US and North Korea. Pyongyang, which has tested nuclear devices five times, tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in July, claiming it now had the ability to hit the mainland US.
On Tuesday, media reports in the US claimed the North had achieved its goal of making a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles. A report in the Washington Post, citing US intelligence officials, suggested North Korea is developing nuclear weapons capable of hitting the US at a much faster rate than expected. A Japanese government defense white paper also said the weapons programmed had "advanced considerably" and that North Korea possibly now had nuclear weapons. In response, President Trump warned North Korea to stop threatening the US, saying they would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".However veteran US Senator John McCain was sceptical about Mr Trump's statement, saying he was "not sure that President Trump is ready to act".
The United States has 28,500 troops in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat. Japan hosts around 54,000 U.S. military personnel, the U.S. Department of Defense says, and tens of thousands of Americans work in both countries. Seoul is home to a population of roughly 10 million, within range of massed pre-targeted North Korean rockets and artillery, which would be impossible to destroy in a first U.S. strike.A rising number of Republicans - 48 percent - want Trump to go that route. That's a jump from 37 percent in an April CBS News poll.A majority of Americans are fearful that Trump is not equipped to go to battle with Kim, though. In the CBS survey, 61 percent of voters expressed doubts. Most do not think North Korea will actually try to strike the U.S. with one of the intercontinental ballistic missiles it's been testing, however. The 541 sq km (209 sq miles) volcanic and coral island in the Pacific between the Philippines and Hawaii.It is an "unorganized, unincorporated" US territory, with a population of about 163,000.US military bases cover about a quarter of the island. About 6,000 personnel are based there and there are plans to move in thousands more.It is a vital staging post for US operations, giving access to potential flashpoints like the South China Sea, the Koreas and the Taiwan Straits.