Pentagon: Supersonic Bombers Sent To Guam To Send Message, To Deter Provocations
GUAM - The Pentagon has confirmed that the B-1B supersonic bombers that arrived in Guam this week is a show of strength in order to deter "potential provocations," after North Korea carried out a series of ballistic missile tests, and fired into the buffer zone with the South.
The U.S. Air Force acknowledged deployment of the bombers to the Anderson Air Force Base in Guam on Thursday, but did not confirm the number of aircraft that flew to the Air Force base.
Pentagon spokesperson Brig. General Pat Ryder said that the arrival of the bombers at the base demonstrates the ability of the United States to carry out "global operations on any given day".
At a press conference on Thursday he said, "[The deployment] is meant to send a message that the United States stands closely with its allies and partners to deter potential provocations".
The Air Force said that the deployment shows the bomber's ability to provide “lethal precision global strike options”.
Two days ago the aircraft monitoring service Aircraft Spots had tracked multiple United States Air Force B-1Bs (Surge21 and Surge22) departing Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota and arriving at Anderson AFB, Guam, noting that there "are now 4 B-1Bs on the ground at Anderson AFB, Guam for this Bomber Task Force deployment".
Guam is within two hours flight time to the Korean Peninsula. B-1B bombers were also deployed to Guam in June after North Korea showed signs that they were preparing for a seventh nuclear test.
The United States Air Force had said during that deployment that, "The mission of the strategic bomber demonstrates the U.S. military's credibility to cope with a more diverse and uncertain global security environment than at any other time in history."
In addition to the bombers, the United States has also deployed surveillance assets over the Korean peninsula ahead of the expected nuclear test.
North Korea shot 350 artillery rounds into the East and West Sea buffer zone with the South in less than 14 hours "from the midnight of the previous day to the afternoon of the 19th," according to South Korean news agency Yonhap (from translation).
The buffer zone was created in order to limit tensions between North and South Korea, but is not officially recognized by the North Korean government.
The artillery shells fell into the Eastern and Western buffer zones north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) established in 2018.
A statement by the JCS at the time read, "Firing artillery shells into the eastern and western buffer zones is a clear violation of the September 19 military agreement, and we strongly urge North Korea to immediately halt its actions as North Korea's continued provocations are actions that undermine peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the international community".
Patel, principal deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said, "So again, we are seeing this happening over the course of this week. We are aware of these reports, and we call on the DPRK to cease all provocative and threatening actions".
"The General Staff of the Korean People's Army has issued instructions to the friendly eastern and western front units once again to conduct threat warning fire in the eastern and western seas in response to the appropriateness raised this morning," Yonhap cited the spokesman as saying.
The report added that on the 18th, North Korea had fired around 100 artillery rounds from the Jangsangot area in Hwanghae Province to the West Sea from around 10pm, and 150 artillery shots from the Jangjeon area in Gangwon Province to the East Sea from around 11pm, totally 350 shots in about 14 hours, until the afternoon of the 19th.
On the 14th, it reported around 130 shots were fired from Majang-dong, Hwanghae-do to the West Sea at 1:20 am, and 40 shots from Gueup-ri, Gangwon-do to the East Sea at 2:57. 90 shots were fired from Jangjeon area to the East Sea at 5:20 pm.
Yonhap reported that the North violated the 9/19 agreement by firing more than 560 rounds at five locations, including 90 rounds from Haeju Bay in the West Sea, and 210 rounds from the west of Jangsangot.
Yonhap said that North Korea had claimed the MLRS fire was in response to an announcement from a spokesperson for the General Staff, "for the purpose of sending a warning to the intentional provocations of the enemy."
US Will Use "Full Range" Of Capabilities, Including Nuclear Weapons To Defend SK
STATE DEPARTMENT - The United States is committed to using its "full range" of defense capabilities to defend South Korea, including nuclear weapons.
During a Press Briefing, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said, "I think you saw President Biden over the course of this administration affirm U.S. extended deterrence and the commitment to the ROK, using the full range of U.S. defense capabilities, including nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities".
Patel also made it clear that Washington's focus is on the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" through dialogue.
He said that the United States plans to "maintain a whole range of potential responses" in case of provocations by North Korea, and said that the US has over 28,000 military personnel stationed in the country, and that this is a "signal of our commitment to our defense relationship and our security cooperation with the people of the Republic of Korea."
He said that the US-South Korean alliance seeks to preserve peace, not "escalate" tensions in the region.
US Department Of State Press Briefing
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