Two US supersonic bombers yesterday flew over South Korea, with one of them landing at an air base 40km south of Seoul, the second such flight since North Korea’s nuclear test on Sept. 9.
US Forces Korea said the flight by a pair of B-1B Lancer strategic bombers based in Guam was a show of force, and of US commitment to preserve security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.
The US, which has about 28,500 troops in South Korea, flew two B-1Bs on Tuesday last week escorted by US and South Korean fighter jets, in a show of solidarity with Seoul.
The North condemned the earlier flight as an armed provocation that mobilized “ill-famed nuclear killing tools.”
It did not immediately respond to yesterday’s flight.
The US Air Force said yesterday’s flight was the closest ever to North Korea by a B-1B.
“Today marks the first time the airframe has landed on the Korean Peninsula in 20 years, as well as conducting the closest flight near North Korea ever,” the US Air Force said on its Web site, which also showed a B-1B landing at the base in South Korea.
The South’s Yonhap News Agency said the aircraft flew over a US live-fire training site in the Pocheon area bordering the North.
North Korea has ignored global condemnation of its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9, and this week said it had successfully tested a new rocket engine that would be used to launch satellites, again in violation of UN sanctions.
The leaders of the US and China, which is the North’s main diplomatic ally and economic benefactor, condemned the latest nuclear test and pledged to step up cooperation at the UN and in law enforcement channels.
UN diplomats said the two countries have begun discussions on a possible UN resolution in response to the latest nuclear test, but China has not said directly whether it would support tougher steps against North Korea.
China, which has objected to a planned US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in the South to counter the North’s missile threat, called on “all parties to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could further escalate tensions.”
South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn told the South Korean National Assembly that Seoul wanted existing UN sanctions against Pyongyang tightened through the removal of loopholes that allow the North to trade in minerals for subsistence.
North Korea has been testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate this year, beginning with its fourth nuclear test in January and including the launch of a satellite in February that was widely seen as a test of long-range ballistic missile technology.
The North’s test of a new rocket engine for satellite launchers this week was believed to be part of a long-range missile program, according to the South’s military.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered preparations for the launch of a satellite “as soon as possible” on the basis of the successful test, its state media reported.
North Korea this month fired three missiles that flew about 1,000km, and last month tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile that experts said showed considerable progress.
In June it also launched an intermediate-range missile that experts said marked a technological advance for the isolated state after several failed tests.
South Korean Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo told the National Assembly that the North was developing all types of missiles, from short to long-range, and its advances were “considerable.”
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
IN THE PIPELINE: The Ministry of National Defense said the sale, expected to take effect in one month, would be the seventh arms sale under the Trump administration The government yesterday thanked the US for approving the possible sale of a US$620 million missile repair and recertification package to Taiwan. The US Department of State has approved the sale of a package to recertify Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington for an estimated US$620 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Thursday. The agency has delivered the required certification to the US Congress, notifying it of the possible sale, it added. The TECRO had requested to buy an upgrade package that would support an operational