U.S. sends B-1B bombers to skies near North Korea again

The U.S. is continuing its bomber presence off the coast of North Korea, an ever-present reminder that Washington has not forgotten Pyongyang’s ongoing nuclear weapons development.

A pair of the heavy bombers, along with fighter jets from South Korea and Japan, conducted a flyover near the Korean peninsula on Thursday, according to a statement from the US Air Force.

The bombers flew in from Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, then rendezvoused with the Japanese and South Korean jets as part of the planned “bilateral integration” exercise — at one point flying over South Korea.

The “continuous bomber presence mission” was planned in advance and was “not in response to any current event,” according to Air Force spokesperson Capt. Candice Dillitte.

Analyst comment: When the Air Force denies that its “continuous bomber presence” is now a “mission,” you can be certain it is in response to a “current event,” which is North Korea in this case.

Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 3: What are the latest indicators of a U.S.-North Korea war?  Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region.  Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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