North Korea Threatens to Shoot Down US Planes That Enter its Airspace
23:30 29.09.2017(updated 23:36 29.09.2017)
Six days after the US Air Force flew the furthest it ever has past the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula, North Korea issued its first response - and it's not exactly a friendly suggestion for the US to not repeat its behavior.
Speaking through Uriminzokkiri, a state-run North Korean outlet, on Friday, the DPRK released an editorial dubbed "Provocative Behavior That Arouses Tens of Millions of People's Will For Revenge," as a critique of the US' latest move.
The commentary began by stating that such aggressive moves would not be tolerated by the regime.
"The US flying its B-1B Lancers strategic bomber squadron over international waters in the East Sea was an immensely dangerous and reckless act that intends to drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula to extremes and an anti-North Korea provocation cannot be overlooked," the article noted.
"The US' bellicose, youthful bravado is rather fanning the will for retaliation among tens of millions of our soldiers and civilians," the article stated. "Our military has been highly motivated with a resolve to shoot down the US flights seeking to trespass in our territorial skies."
According to the Pentagon, the flyover was part of a demonstration by the Trump Administration to show that US President Donald Trump "has many military options to defeat any threat."
"This is a demonstration of US resolve," Dana White, a Pentagon spokesperson, said in a statement Saturday following the flyover. "North Korea's weapons program is a grave threat to the Asia-Pacific region and the entire international community."
"We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the US homeland and our allies," the statement added.
Pyongyang failed to act when the flyover occurred on September 23; officials in South Korea's spy agency suspect their northern neighbor's air defense capabilities are not adept enough at detecting flights to have noticed them, according to The Korea Times.
But there is some doubt about this theory. In the same article, the publication noted it has detected several other flights, but made no mention of the Saturday flight.
"This year alone, the US sent its B1-B strategic bombers for 19 times on the Korean Peninsula and they were done in the form of a joint drill with its puppet [South Korea]. But this time, it was done as a unilateral move without a prior consultation with its puppet."
Despite the newspaper's claims, South Korean President Moon Jae-in was notified and gave his consent before the flight took place, the Times reported.
The weekend flyover also included an escort by US Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter jets from the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. The forces flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea, the Business Insider reported.
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