US secretly sending strategic weapons to South Korea: Report

March 26, 2017 2:53 pm

Navy crew
members stand by an EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft on the
deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during a South
Korea-US joint exercise in seas east of the Korean Peninsula,
March 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The US has been secretly
moving strategic weapons to South Korea in order to threaten North
Korea, a US military official says, noting that Washington has taken a
more aggressive approach towards Pyongyang under President Donald Trump

“Surprise
dispatch of strategic weapons is effective in maximizing fear in the
North as it sends a message that such weapons can be mobilized any time
in case of a contingency,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying by The Korea Times on Sunday.
The
comments came days after Washington belatedly confirmed that it had
deployed a number of F-35B stealth fighter jets to the restive
peninsula. The aircraft were originally sent to Japan.
The
advanced fighter jets reportedly took part in the US-South Korea annual
joint military exercise Foal Eagle, where they simulated a bombing
attack on virtual targets in the North.
The flight reportedly took
place between March 20 and 23 but was only made public by US Forces
Korea (USFK) Commander General Vincent K. Brooks on Saturday.
“The
deployment of the most advanced aircraft the US Marine Corps has in its
inventory to Korea is yet another example of how dedicated the United
States is to supporting the ROK-US Alliance,” he said in a statement.
“The training within the Korea Marine Exercise Program helps ensure our
readiness and is critical for our alliance as we maintain security and
stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

A
mock victim lies on the ground during a joint medical evacuation
exercise as part of annual massive military exercises at a South Korean
Army hospital northwest of Seoul, March 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)Washington
employed the same strategy when the US Navy’s USS Columbus nuclear
submarine arrived in South Korean waters to join the drills.
Earlier
on March 15, two American B-1B strategic bombers were secretly deployed
to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam and were later spotted over a firing
range in South Korea.
The strategic nuclear-capable bombers also
simulated attacks on North Korean targets for about an hour and their
presence there was only confirmed by Korean outlets.
American officials did not acknowledge the flight at the time, arguing, “We do not discuss operational matters.”
Infuriated
by the provocative military drills, which involve 17,000 American
troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans, Pyongyang warned Sunday that
a preemptive strike was always a possibility.
“As long as the US
and South Korea’s troops and means … remain in and around South Korea,
they should keep in mind that our military will carry out annihilating
attack at anytime without any prior warning,” the North said in a
statement.

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