US Bombers Drop Live Munitions in Threat to North Korea

by | Jun 6, 2024

US Bombers Drop Live Munitions in Threat to North Korea

by | Jun 6, 2024

FILE PHOTO: A US B-1B Lancer heavy bomber flies in formation with South Korean F-15 fighters during a drill at an undisclosed location over the Korean Peninsula, July 7, 2017. (Credit: US Air Force / Staff Sgt. Jackie Sanders)

Two US B-1 strategic bombers dropped live munitions on the Korean Peninsula in a show of force eyeing Pyongyang. Tensions in the region have ratcheted up during the Biden administration as the president has taken a hardline approach toward the DPRK. 

The American B-1Bs and two South Korean fighter jets dropped live GBU-38, 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMS) on test targets in South Korea. “This training showcases the incredible capabilities of our combined forces to simultaneously strike multiple targets in a contested environment,” said Lt. Gen. David Iverson, US Force Korea deputy commander and Seventh Air Force commander. “The tremendous capabilities of ROK and US airpower is an overwhelming, asymmetric warfighting advantage for our combined force that adversaries cannot match.”

A press release from the Pentagon explained that the B-1B “carries the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the US Air Force inventory and can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.”

In addition to the live test bombing, the US and South Korean air forces conducted yet another round of joint war games. The Defense Department press release added that “US Marine Corps F-35Bs, US Air Force F-16s, and KC-135 Stratotankers, and [South Korean] F-35As and KF-16s for air-to-air training over the western region of South Korea.”

The provocative drills come as the relationship between US-backed Seoul and Pyongyang continues a long downward spiral. After former President Donald Trump’s negotiations with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un failed, Biden adopted a far more aggressive policy towards North Korea, effectively rejecting diplomacy while carrying out a flurry of exercises with the South. 

The result has been a massive escalation of military activity on both sides of the DMZ. North Korea has conducted record numbers of weapons tests in recent years – including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICMBs) – while the US and South Korea engaged in historic war games. 

Communication between North and South Korea has also broken down since Biden took power, and some de-escalation agreements between the two sides have been abandoned outright.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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