U.S., Japan conduct air exercises near Korean peninsula

by WorldTribune Staff, August 9, 2017

The United States and Japan conducted joint air drills in skies near the Korean peninsula on Aug 8.

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and two Japanese F-2 fighter jets took part in the drills, which were held near Japan’s southern Kyushu island, according to a news release from Japan’s Air Self Defense Force (ASDF).

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers fly from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, with an escort of a pair of Japan Self-Defense Forces F-2 fighter jets near Kyushu island on Aug. 8. / U.S. Air Force via Reuters

The U.S. B-1Bs, which are capable of carrying nuclear bombs, followed up the drills with Japan with a separate exercise with South Korean Forces, the ASDF said.

North Korea raised the tension level in the region on Aug. 9 when the Kim Jong-Un regime said it is considering a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

The U.S. B1-B bombers that are deployed to the Asia Pacific are based at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.

Hours before the North’s threat, U.S. President Donald Trump said any threat from Pyongyang would be met with “fire and fury.”

North Korea’s state-run media has accused Japan of selling out by supporting the United States in its effort to shut down North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic weapons programs.

“The Japanese reactionaries are making no scruple of joining in the U.S. which dropped A-bombs over Japan and did a great deal of harm to it in the past, and working hard to realize their long-ambition for turning it into a military giant and for overseas militarist aggression by the method of taking advantage of the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK [North Korea] and strategy to dominate Asia,” wrote the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Citing a commentary by the government’s Minju Joson newspaper, KCNA further accused Japan of “working hard as a shock brigade and servants for carrying out aggressive war of the U.S. which inflicted painful wounds upon the Japanese people in past.”

The Japanese Defense Ministry on Aug. 8 said that North Korea may have already developed the capability to fit nuclear warheads onto its ICBMs.

“It is conceivable that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced, and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads,” the ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters.

“Since last year, when it forcibly implemented two nuclear tests and more than 20 ballistic missile launches, the security threats have entered a new stage,” the ministry added.

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