US sends F-35 stealth warplanes to South Korea, escalates tensions with North Korea

The US Air Force has sent F-35 stealth warplanes to South Korea to carry out maneuvers, with a New York-based analyst saying the deployment of these destabilizing weapons will likely be viewed as a First Strike threat by North Korea.

US Forces Korea said in a statement on Tuesday that the fighter jets along with several others will participate in a 10-day training mission, flying over South Korea and surrounding waters.

According to Press TV, South Korean F-35 jets are expected to fly with American aircraft.

“The familiarization and routine training flights will enhance the interoperability of the two Air Forces to perform and operate on and around the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said.

“The aviation training is also an opportunity for the aircrews to perform sustainment and maintenance duties to support the latest in military aircraft technology,” it added.

“Pyongyang claims, with some weight, to be the legitimate government of Korea, viewing Seoul in the same manner that the world viewed Vichy, France,” said New York-based journalist Don Debar.

“South Korea is essentially the same land that was captured by Imperial Japan. The US succeeded to it by conquering Japan and then replacing the Japanese occupation troops with American occupation troops,” he added.

“The placement of these destabilizing weapons that are clearly intended for First Strike capability are legitimate targets, in their eyes, under a doctrine of self-defense. I’m certain this is known at the Pentagon and in Langley, and certainly in Beijing and Moscow,” he told Press TV on Tuesday.

“This is a very dangerous provocation in the present context, especially when aggregated with others such as the encirclement of Kaliningrad and the ascension of Finland and Norway to NATO – and, of course, the bombing of Russian cities and killing of Russian civilians, ostensibly by Ukraine, but utilizing weaponry conveyed by the US and its NATO allies and used by troops trained – and some say commanded – by the US and NATO,” he concluded.

South Korea’s defense ministry said in a separate statement the flight operations are aimed at “demonstrating the South Korea-US alliance’s strong deterrence and combined defense posture, as well as improving interoperability between the two Air Forces.”

The US has deployed F-35 aircraft to South Korea first time since December 2017, when it sent F-22 stealth fighters and F-35 aircraft to participate in a joint aerial drill.

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