The U.S. Air Force has sent F-35 stealth warplanes to South Korea to operate the tactic, with a New York-based analyst saying the deployment of these volatile weapons would be seen as a threat of a first strike from North Korea.
The U.S. Air Force said in a statement Tuesday that the fighter jets, along with several others, would participate in a 10-day training mission, flying over South Korea and surrounding waters.
South Korea’s F-35 jets are expected to fly alongside American aircraft.
“Introduction and regular training flights will enhance the mutual efficiency of the two air forces to operate and operate in and around the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said.
“Air transport training is an opportunity for pilots to carry out sustainability and maintenance duties for up-to-date support in military aircraft technology,” he added.
New York-based journalist Don Deber said, “Pyongyang claims that, by some weight, Korea has a legitimate government, looking at Seoul in the same way that the world looks at Vichy, France.”
“South Korea is basically the same land that was occupied by Imperial Japan. The United States succeeded in conquering Japan and then Japanese occupation was replaced by American troops,” he added.
“The location of these volatile weapons, clearly intended for First Strike capability, is, in their view, a legal target, according to the principle of self-defense. I am sure it is definitely known at the Pentagon and Langley and in Beijing and Moscow,” he told Press TV on Tuesday.
“In the current context, this is a very dangerous provocation, especially when the siege of Kaliningrad and the incursion of Finland and Norway into NATO – and, of course, the bombing of Russian cities and the killing of Russian citizens – combined with others by Ukraine, but by the US and its NATO allies.” The use of weapons and the use of trained troops – and some say – by the US and NATO, “he concluded.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a separate statement that the purpose of the flight operation was “to demonstrate the strong resilience of the South Korea-US alliance and the consolidated defense sanctity, as well as to improve the mutual efficiency between the two air forces.”
For the first time since December 2017, F-35 aircraft have been publicly deployed in South Korea since the United States sent F-22 stealth fighters and F-35 aircraft to participate in the joint air drill.
The exercises come as tensions between the United States and North Korea escalate. In response, Pyongyang is stepping up its missile tests.
The United States and its allies flew dozens of planes over the Korean Peninsula last month in provocative moves against North Korea.
South Korean President Eun Suk Yeol and US President Joe Biden met in Seoul in May where they pledged to expand joint military exercises around the Korean Peninsula.
“The two leaders agreed to begin discussions to increase the scope and scope of joint military exercises and training in and around the Korean Peninsula,” the leaders said in a joint statement on May 21.
Washington announced “timely and coordinated deployment of strategic US military assets as needed, as well as expanding such measures and identifying new or additional steps to strengthen deterrence against the backdrop of DPRK destabilizing activities.”
Last month, the Biden administration threatened North Korea with a “rapid and overwhelming response” if Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test.
“Such a test will get a quick and strong response,” US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told a news conference on June 7 after meeting with South Korean counterpart Cho Hyun-dong in Seoul.
Following her remarks, a joint air force demonstration raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The maneuver, which involved 20 fighter jets, including F-35A stealth fighter jets, on the West Sea, came a day after Washington and Seoul jointly fired eight surface-to-surface missiles off South Korea’s east coast.
“South Korea and the United States have demonstrated their strong ability and determination to respond quickly and accurately to any provocation from North Korea,” said Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
U.S. officials have accused Pyongyang of new signs of construction at Pungye-ri, North Korea’s only known nuclear test site, and claim that allied joint demonstrations are in response to North Korea’s missile tests.
North Korea has tested a number of ballistic missiles this year, including large intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), new hypersonic missiles and a short-range missile potentially designed for tactical nuclear weapons.
Due to the large presence of U.S. troops near its territorial waters and the regular organization of US-led joint war games with South Korea and Japan, its weapons tests are a defensive measure.