Pentagon press secretary George Little said one B-52 flew over South Korea on March 8, and the deputy defense secretary, Ashton Carter, said during a visit to Seoul that another bomber mission is scheduled for Tuesday.
B-52 bombers are capable of launching nuclear-armed cruise missiles, but Little said those participating in the Korean exercise are not armed with nuclear weapons.
The use of Air Force warplanes as part of an annual U.S.-South Korean military exercise called Foal Eagle is not unusual. But the Pentagon used the occasion to draw attention to the role B-52 bombers play as part of an American nuclear “umbrella” over South Korea and Japan — both of which feel threatened by North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
“We’re deeply concerned about North Korean behavior and rhetoric,” Little told reporters.
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