The United States conducted a show of force against North Korea by flying nuclear-capable bombers to the Korean Peninsula on Friday. This action came shortly after North Korea’s massive anti-U.S. rallies in its capital.

According to South Korea’s Defense Ministry, the long-range B-52 bombers joined other U.S. and South Korean fighter jets in joint aerial drills over the peninsula. These deployments are in response to North Korea’s efforts to expand its nuclear arsenal.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. deployed a nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying around 150 Tomahawk missiles in South Korean waters for the first time in six years. This move followed North Korea’s missile tests, which it saw as a rehearsal for invasion during U.S.-South Korean drills.


The South Korean Defense Ministry stated that the deployment of B-52 bombers increased the visibility of U.S. strategic assets in the peninsula. The joint drills involving U.S. strategic bombers demonstrate the allies’ determination to enhance their combined defense posture.

During mass rallies in Pyongyang on Sunday, over 120,000 North Koreans expressed their vow for “merciless revenge” against the United States over the Korean War and accused the U.S. of planning an invasion on North Korea.

U.S. B-52H bombers, center, F-16 fighter jets, top, and South Korean F-35A fighter jets, bottom right, fly over the Korean Peninsula during a joint air drill in South Korea on April 14, 2023. On Friday, the United States flew nuclear-capable bombers to the Korean Peninsula.
(South Korea Defense Ministry via AP, File)

The Korean War concluded with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula in a technical state of war. As a deterrent against potential aggression from North Korea, the U.S. maintains around 28,000 troops in South Korea.

Since the launch of two short-range ballistic missiles on June 15, North Korea has refrained from conducting further public weapons tests. However, the deployment of U.S. bombers could provoke North Korea to resume weapons testing as a form of protest.


Enhancing the “regular visibility of U.S. strategic assets” in the Korean Peninsula was part of the agreements made between U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol during their April summit in Washington. At the time, Biden warned that any North Korean nuclear attack on the U.S. or its allies would lead to the end of the regime responsible.

Since the beginning of 2022, North Korea has conducted over 100 missile tests to expand its arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles targeting the U.S. mainland and South Korea. In response, the allies have been increasing their military exercises.

In late May, North Korea’s attempt to launch a rocket carrying its first spy satellite ended in failure, with the rocket plunging into waters shortly after liftoff. North Korea has expressed its intention to make a second attempt, emphasizing the need for a space-based surveillance system to counter what it perceives as U.S. hostility.

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