The United States flew a B-52 bomber over South Korea, in a gesture meant to underline Washington’s displeasure with Pyongyang’s detonation mid-last week of what North Korea claims was a hydrogen bomb. Reuters:
The massive B-52, based in Guam and capable of carrying nuclear weapons, could be seen in a low flight over Osan Air Base at around noon (0300 GMT). It was flanked by two fighter planes, a U.S. F-16 and a South Korean F-15, before returning to Guam, the U.S. military said in a statement.
Osan is south of Seoul and 77 km (48 miles) from the Demilitarised Zone that separates the two Koreas. The flight was “in response to recent provocative action by North Korea”, the U.S. military said.
Meanwhile, South Korean media reported that Washington was considering sending an aircraft carrier off the peninsula next month to participate in a training exercise with Seoul, and that the U.S. might also separately send F-22s, B-2s, and nuclear submarines to the region. “The United States and South Korea are continuously and closely having discussions on additional deployment of strategic assets,” a spokesman for the South Korean government said, declining to confirm or deny any details.
We’re encouraged by these reports of Washington-Seoul collaboration, and we hope that they will be accompanied, in addition, by strong U.S. diplomatic efforts to help South Korea and Japan strengthen their ties as a way to check China’s ambitions. To a significant extent, that’s already been happening; as we said last week, the nuclear test’s biggest loser is Beijing, which looks either malicious or incompetent in the wake of its client state’s decision.
More of this kind of U.S. leadership, please.