The United States and its allies have again responded to a North Korean missile test. This time, the response included a military exercise using real ammunition.
American military aircraft included two B-1B bombers from a base in Guam and four F-35B stealth fighter jets from a base in Japan. Four South Korean fighter jets joined the Americans to fly over the Korean peninsula. And Japanese military aircraft flew over Japanese waters in the 10-hour operation.
The combined forces released live weapons at the Pilsung Range training area. The show of force came two days after North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan.
General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy is the commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces. He said, "North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly. Our forward deployed force will be the first to the fight, ready to deliver a lethal response at a moment’s notice if our nation calls."
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency issued a statement calling the exercise a “rash act of those taken aback” by North Korea’s recent missile launch.
The U.S. military frequently responds to North Korean actions with a show-of-force display of its attack aircraft. In July, the U.S. and South Korean militaries also fired missiles into South Korean waters. The action was in response to a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
Joseph Dunford is the top general of the U.S. military. On a recent trip to the region, he said the military’s main goal is supporting U.S. efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. But he added that the U.S. is preparing what he called "viable military options" in the event that those efforts fail.
I’m Jonathan Evans.