Trump sent a message to North Korea, loud and clear.
Two U.S. supersonic bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula as a show of force against the communist country.
The U.S. often sends powerful warplanes in times of heightened animosities with North Korea, and flew B-1B bombers several times this year as the North conducted a series of banned ballistic missile tests.
Tuesday’s flights by B-1Bs came shortly after the death of a U.S. college student who was recently released by North Korea in a coma following more than 17 months of captivity.
Seoul’s Defense Ministry said the bombers engaged in routine exercises with South Korean fighter jets aimed at showing deterrence against North Korea.
The U.S. military has said the bombers conducted two separate drills with the Japanese and South Korean air forces. The flights were to symbolize the solidarity between South Korea, Japan, and the United States, “to defend against provocative and destabilizing actions in the Pacific theater.”
The death of Otto Warmbier is likely to dampen the already rocky relations that the U.S. has with North Korea.
It may also have repercussions for South Korea’s new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, who wishes to improve the South’s relations with the North.
Moon said in an interview that Warmbier’s death showed “we must now have the perception that North Korea is an irrational regime”. He still believes there must be talks, though, because “we were unable to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through only the sanctions and pressure.”