(National Sentinel) Korea: The United States Air Force sent two nuclear-capable B-1 bombers over the Korean peninsula on Sunday in a show of force following yet another test-launch of an ICBM by North Korea experts say has the distance to strike the U.S. heartland.
As reported by the UK’s The Sun, the U.S. bombers were escorted by a pair of South Korean F-15K fighter planes “as they performed a low-pass over an air base near the South Korean capital of Seoul before returning to the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.” The site noted further:
The US Air Force said the mission was a response to consecutive ICBM tests by Kim this month.
Analysts say flight data from the second test conducted Friday night showed that a broader part of mainland America, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of
“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” said Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander.
“Diplomacy remains the lead. However, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario,” he said, adding ominously: “If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”
Despite being warned continually against further ICBM and nuclear development by President Donald J. Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has defied those warnings, pushing ahead with an accelerated testing schedule. U.S. analysts now believe that Pyongyang will be able to field a nuclear-capable ICBM that puts nearly all of the United States in range within a year, far faster than previous estimates.
In a series of tweets Sunday, Trump expressed frustration with China over its continued indifference to North Korea’s testing, claiming that Beijing could step in at any time to rein in its belligerent neighbor:
“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
Trump has repeatedly vowed to “take all steps necessary” to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.
As for the Chinese, Beijing unveiled some of its own military might in a massive parade celebrating the 90th anniversary of the formation of the People’s Liberation Army — attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was wearing a military field uniform. Again, The Sun:
China launched an awesome show of its military might – just hours after warning Donald Trump about his involvement in North Korea.
Tens of thousands of Chinese troops marched alongside tanks and nuclear weapons as stealth fighters and attack helicopters roared overhead.
“Always listen to and follow the party’s orders. And march to wherever the party points to,” Xi told the assembled troops.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended a major military parade intended to showcase Russian naval might. As reported by Agence France Presse:
President Vladimir Putin on Sunday oversaw a pomp-filled display of Russia’s naval might as the Kremlin paraded its sea power from the Baltic Sea to the shores of Syria.
Some 50 warships and submarines were on show along the Neva River and in the Gulf of Finland off the country’s second city of Saint Petersburg after Putin ordered the navy to hold its first ever parade on such a grand scale.
“Today much is being done to develop and modernize the navy,” Putin told assembled military personnel after inspecting the assembled fleet from his cutter.
“The navy is not only dealing with its traditional tasks but also responding with merit to new challenges, making a significant contribution to the fight against terrorism and piracy,” he added.
It was the first time Moscow also showed off its naval hardware at its Syrian base of Tartus in the eastern Mediterranean, where Russian ships have played a prominent role backing up a bombing campaign in support of leader Bashar al-Assad, AFP noted.
As we have reported, both Beijing and Moscow have been moving forces to areas near their shared border with North Korea, most likely in anticipation of U.S. military strikes against North Korean nuclear and chemical weapons storage sites and infrastructure.
North Korea’s conventional weapons arsenal is no match for the U.S. military; air and sea power alone would devastate much of Pyongyang’s military infrastructure in a first strike, which would likely involve stealth bombers and showers of Tomahawk cruise missiles.
That said, both great powers in the neighborhood appear to be sending a message of their own to Washington: While military action in North Korea may be a foregone conclusion, there are red lines that the U.S. and South Korean militaries cannot cross if this cold war with Pyongyang turns hot.
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