US nuclear-capable B-52 bombers flew to the Korean Peninsula on Friday in the latest US provocation against North Korea.
The South Korean Defense Ministry and the US military said the bombers participated in exercises and were joined by US and South Korean fighter jets.
“The training offered the alliance an opportunity to further strengthen its interoperability by demonstrating a combined defense capability, rapid deployment, and extended deterrence in the defense of the Korean Peninsula,” US Forces Korea said in a press release.
The US started sending bombers back to the Korean Peninsula last year when two US B1-B bombers made the trip for the first time since 2017. Now, US bomber flights to the peninsula are a regular occurrence as tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang are soaring.
According to Air & Space Forces Magazine, Friday’s B-52 deployment marked the seventh time in the last six months that B-52s or B-1s have flown above or near the Korean Peninsula.
The US is planning to dock a nuclear-armed submarine in South Korea for the first time since 1981. President Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced the plan in April, but it’s not clear when the nuclear-armed submarine will arrive.
Because US nuclear-armed submarines can be patrolling waters anywhere in the world at any time and carry long-range missiles, from a strategic perspective, docking one in South Korea serves no purpose other than as a provocation toward North Korea.
In another sign of the soaring tensions between the North and the South, Yoon on Sunday said that South Korea’s Unification Ministry should take a harder line toward Pyongyang. South Korea’s new unification minister said in a 2019 op-ed that unification can only happen once North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s “regime is overthrown and North Korea is liberated.”