A statement released by United States Forces Korea Thursday said the unprecedented sortie by the two B-2 Spirit stealth bombers "demonstrates the United States' ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will."
The stealth bombers were flown all the way from the Whiteman air force base in Missouri to the Korean peninsula where they dropped inert dummy bombs and then returned home, according to the U.S. Forces Korea statement.
It is rare for US military to come out with this kind of announcement -- it is unclear whether America’s stealth bombers were used in past annual drills with South Korea, but this is the first time the military has made this public --- it is no accident. Clearly the US wants to send a message to Pyongyang, though Washington and Seoul say the drills are routine and defensive.
The B-2 flights come amid rapidly increasing tension on the Korean Peninsula as new North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, only 30, has issued a variety of threats of nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul. He launched several missiles including a long-range ballistic missile in last December. He conducted a third underground nuclear test underground nuclear test in February which brought tougher United Nations economic sanctions.
President Obama's top advisers say, according to CBS news, North Korea is following a familiar pattern of tests and threats -- one which wouldn't ordinarily provoke much alarm. But this time, the relatively unknown and untested dictator in Pyongyang has the White House on-edge with his agitated actions and tone.
Chuck Hagel spoke Wednesday with the South Korean Defense Minister, Kim Quan Jin, according to Pentagon spokesman George Little, and offered his unwavering support as part of an intensified effort by the Obama administration to coordinate reaction to the North's belligerence.
“Secretary Hagel and Minister Kim reaffirmed the strength of the alliance, (and)… the Secretary highlighted that the steadfast U.S. commitment of the defense of South Korea, including extended deterrence capabilities,” the Pentagon said.
The North Koreans are very sensitive about bombers flying over their territory because of the extensive aerial siege of North Korea during the war back in the early 1950s. It is also stated that this is the one flying piece of equipment that the North Koreans fear the most.
Earlier this month, North Korea announced that it considers void the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953.
Kim has shown an affinity for dramatic propaganda videos. One recently depicted North Korea invading South Korea, while another showed the U.S. Capitol and White House in flames.