Published: March 28, 2013
SEOUL, South Korea — The American military made a rare announcement that two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers ran a practice bombing sortie over South Korea on Thursday, underscoring Washington’s commitment to defend its ally amid rising tensions with North Korea.
The two B-2 Spirit bombers made a nonstop round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, demonstrating the United States’ ability to “provide extended deterrence to our allies in the Asia-Pacific region” and to “conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will,” the American command in the South Korean capital, Seoul, said in a statement.
After suffering from the American carpet-bombing during the 1950-53 Korean War, North Korea remains particularly sensitive about American bombers. It keeps most of its key military installations underground and its war cries typically reach a frenetic pitch when American bombers fly over South Korea during military exercises. The resulting fear and anti-American sentiment is used by the regime to make its people rally behind the North’s “military-first” leadership.
North Korea has escalated its bellicose rhetoric since a Feb. 12 nuclear test. It threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the United States and South Korea for conducting joint military drills and supporting United Nations sanctions against the North. In response, Washington has stood behind the new government of President Park Geun-hye, South Korea's first female president, by running B-52 bomber sorties over South Korea earlier this month and publicizing them. It also signed an agreement last weekend to enhance consultation and coordination of the allies' responses to North Korean provocations. Such coordination became all the more important with growing North Korean threats; under a mutual defense treaty, Washington is obliged to intervene should a local skirmish expand into a full-blown war.
U.S. Begins Stealth Bombing Runs Over South Korea - NYTimes.com:
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