South Korea and the United States flew warplanes, including stealth fighter jets, over the waters surrounding the Korean peninsula on Tuesday in a new show of force in response to the North’s recent missile tests, Seoul said.
Sixteen South Korean warplanes, such as F-35 stealth militants and four US F-16 jets, founded an attack squadron and over West Sea, also known as the Yellow Sea, to “respond to the enemy threat,” according to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It went on to say that the allies “evidenced their strong ability and will to strike quickly and accurately against another provocation from North Korea.”
The air manoeuvres, which involved 20 warplanes, come a day after the allies launched eight missile systems into the Sea of Japan in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear test.
North Korea conducted one of its largest-ever tests on Sunday, firing eight short-range ballistic missiles from four different locations in 30 minutes, according to analysts.
This year, the nuclear-armed country has conducted a flurry of sanctions-violating weapons tests, including firing an intercontinental missile at full store for the first time since 2017.
For weeks, US and South Korean authorities have warned that Kim Jong Un’s regime is planning another nuclear test.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is in Seoul for three days, warned Pyongyang would face a “swift and forceful” response if it conducted its seventh nuclear test.
“Any nuclear test would be a clear breach of UN Security Council resolutions,” she said after having met with her South Korean counterpart.
The entire world will respond “strongly and clearly,” she said, adding, “We are ready.”
Sherman stated that the US is still willing to engage in conversation with North Korea, adding that Washington “has no violent intentions towards” Pyongyang.
The air maneuvers on Tuesday are the third such joint display of force by the allied forces under South Korea’s hawkish new President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has promised a tougher stance against Pyongyang.