United States bombers fly off North Korean coast in show of force


27 September, 2017

But North Korea's dated air defenses complicate that task. In his controversial speech, he referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as "rocket man", and threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the U.S. was forced to defend itself.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Monday that US President Donald Trump had declared war on North Korea and that Pyongyang reserved the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down US bombers even if they are not in its air space.

DPRK Today released the apocalyptic footage hours after US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers, escorted by fighter jets, flew in worldwide airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday. A new propaganda video shows North Korean missiles aiming for US military targets.

Despite the heated war of words between Pyongyang and Washington, the US has not noticed any significant posture shifts on the part of the North Korean military that would signal that a war is on the horizon, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford said Tuesday.

Moon Seong Mook, a former South Korean military official and current senior analyst for the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, said it's highly unlikely North Korea has the real-world capability to match Ri's words.

It is unclear if North Korea would or even could shoot down a modern USA aircraft, although it should be noted that North Korea has shot down US military aircraft in the past.

This picture taken on September 23 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 24 shows an anti-U.S. rally in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang.

It's also unclear whether North Korea would be able to even see the advanced US warplanes when they come. Two B-1B lancer bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, and six F-15C air superiority fighter jets from Okinawa's Kadena Air Base, flew in worldwide airspace off North Korea's east coast for approximately three hours from Saturday night until early Sunday morning. North Korea, however, maintains a consistent wartime mentality, expecting a possible conflict at all times.

North Korea would have "the first mover advantage, but if the North Korean aircraft shot them down, they would pay a heavy price", Lamrani said. In 1969, a North Korean fighter jet shot down an unarmed US reconnaissance plane and killed all 31 crewmembers on board.

From the ground, North Korea's defenses are "not really a threat to high flying aircraft, especially if you're flying over water", said Lamrani. -North Korea nuclear crisis, no one can be sure where this would lead or whether the North will even carry out its threat.

But North Korea does have one advantage: surprise.

The leaders of the two countries have been locked in a battle of words recently, with Trump calling the North Korean leader "rocket man" and a "madman", while Kim Jong-un branded Trump a "mentally deranged USA dotard".

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighters flew in global airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday in a show of force the Pentagon said indicated the range of military options available to Trump. It tested two ICBMs in July, displaying their potential ability to reach deep into the continental United States.

North Korea's ultimate goal, according to the minister, is reaching a strategic "balance of power with the U.S.".

The video, released by DPRK Today, also features US President Donald Trump, seen speaking at the celebration of the US Air Force's 70th Anniversary at Joint Base Andrews, portrayed as "a mad man, " South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

"It is only a forlorn hope to consider any chance that the DPRK (North Korea) would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces, " the foreign minister said.

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