Multi-Nation Response To North Korean Missile Testing

On Saturday, July 8, 2017, two United States bombers were flown out to the Korean Peninsula to join South Korean and Japanese fighters to partake in a joint-training mission. This practice bombing run is in response to North Korea’s recent claim of a successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, as well as North Korea’s ever-growing nuclear program.

North Korean officials claimed on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, that their first intercontinental ballistic missile test was a success, concerning many individuals worldwide due to North Korea’s recent push to militarily challenge the U.S. However, assessments made by the U.S. and South Korea combated this claim, saying the missile appeared to be intermediate range. However, if the missile were an ICBM, this would be a game-changer in relations between North Korea and the rest of the world, particularly the U.S. Such a missile would have the potential to reach anywhere in the U.S., proving itself to be a major threat to the safety of American citizens.

In response, South Korean and Japanese warplanes, as well as US F-16 fighters, joined the US B-1 Lancer bombers from Guam for parts of the mission in a united show of force. Those involved in the mission used inert weapons to practice attacks on a South Korean firing range.

This was the sixth such flight since April, demonstrating U.S. resolve in the face of North Korea’s consistent efforts to create a missile with the potential to reach the U.S. Despite these constant shows of force, North Korea seems unfazed as they continue to develop and test missiles in the hopes of creating an ICBM.

David Wright, a U.S. missile analyst, stated that, if the reported time and distance of the missile were correct (putting the missile on a highly lofted trajectory), the missile could potentially reach Alaska if fired at a normal trajectory. Even if the missile is not an ICBM, it poses a major threat to American civilians, as well as civilians in a number of other nations within its estimated 4,160-mile range.

The decision by Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. to send bombers to train shows that the threat is being taken seriously on an international level and demonstrates a push towards international cooperation in the face of the ever-growing North Korea threat.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In released a statement on the matter, saying, “The reality is that there is a high possibility of a military conflict at the N.L.L. (Northern Limit Line) and military demarcation line.” The decision to bring in Japanese and American forces to prepare for this eventuality demonstrates how serious the threat is being taken.

U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence O’Shaughnessy stated that North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners, and homeland. Let me be clear: if called upon, we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capacity of our allied air forces.”

Jordan Meyerl