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U.S. flies straight into Korean standoff
Posted:Jan 10, 2016
 
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In a show of force, a B-52 bomber conducts low-level flight over S.Korea following the North’s nuclear test last week.
 
The United States deployed a B-52 bomber on a low-level flight over its ally South Korea on Sunday, a show of force following North Korea’s nuclear test last week.
 
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un maintained that Wednesday’s test was of a hydrogen bomb and said it was a self-defensive step against a U.S. threat of nuclear war.
 
North Korea’s fourth nuclear test angered both China, its main ally, and the United States, although the U.S. government and weapons experts doubt the North's claim that the device was a hydrogen bomb.
 
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 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.
 
“The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the defence of the Republic of Korea [South Korea] and to maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula, to include extended deterrence provided by our conventional forces and our nuclear umbrella,” said U.S. Lt. Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy.
 
After the North’s last test, in 2013, the United States sent a pair of nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers over South Korea. At the time, the North responded by threatening a nuclear attack on the U.S.
 
U.S. is also considering sending a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to waters off the Korean peninsula next month to join a naval exercise with Seoul, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported without identifying a source.
 
However, U.S. military officials said they knew of no such plan.
 
Keywords: Kim Jong-un, North Korea, Nuclear test, USA, South Korea
 
The Hindu, January 11, 2016
 
 
 
 
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