WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2017 — Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam and Air Force F-16C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, flew in international airspace over the waters east of North Korea, Sept. 23, Defense Department spokesman Army Col. Rob Manning said today.
In a show of force, Manning told Pentagon reporters, the aircraft flew north of the Demilitarized Zone, the farthest north any U.S. fighter or bomber has flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness of North Korea’s “reckless behavior.”
He added, “The United States seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the end of threatening actions or provocations by North Korea. The Kim regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours, and would lose any arms race or conflict that it initiates.”
Commitment to Defense
This flight was in response to North Korea’s escalatory launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles on July 3 and July 28, intermediate range ballistic missile launches over Japan on Aug. 28 and Sept. 14, and a nuclear test on Sept. 2, Manning said, all of which violate many U.N. Security Council resolutions.
North Korea must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its nuclear weapons program, the colonel added.
“As always, our commitment is to the defense of our allies and our partners and remains ironclad,” he said.
“We are prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from an attack,” Manning said, “and are prepared to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the threat from North Korea.”