U.S. B-2 Bombers Sent To Korea On Rare Mission

The stealthy, nuclear-capable U.S. B-2 bomber is a veteran of wars in Iraq and Libya, but it isn't usually a tool of Washington's statecraft.
Yet on Thursday, the United States sent a pair of the bat-winged planes on a first-of-its-kind practice run over the skies of South Korea, conducting what U.S. officials say was a diplomatic sortie.

The aim, the officials said, was two-fold: to reassure U.S. allies South Korea and Japan in the face of a string of threats from North Korea, and to nudge Pyongyang back to nuclear talks.

But whether North Korea's young new leader, Kim Jong-un, interprets the message the way the White House hopes is anybody's guess. His first reaction, according to North Korean state media, was to order his country's missiles ready to strike the United States and South Korea.

A senior U.S. official said Kim's late father, Kim Jong-il, was at least more predictable: He would issue threats that got the world's attention without provoking open conflict, and then use them as leverage in subsequent diplomatic negotiations.

This time, U.S. intelligence analysts are divided over whether Kim Jong-un is pursuing the same strategy. "It's a little bit of an 'all bets are off' kind of moment," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity,.

The official said the idea for the practice bombing run, part of annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises named Foal Eagle, emerged from government-wide discussions over how to signal to Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would back them in a crisis.

It is less clear whether Washington informed China, North Korea's neighbor and only major ally, in advance.

The plan was approved by the White House and coordinated with South Korea and Japan, the official said.
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Post a Comment Default Comments Disqus Comments

  1. Lets just hope the world would not be make to witness a nuclear war. It would not benefit anyone not even the warring parties. Hopefully both sides are sensible enough to see this.

  2. Lets just hope the world will not be made to witness a nuclear war because it world not benefit anyone, not even the warring parties. I sincerely hope both parties are sensible enough to notice this.



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