The North Korean communist regime held drills to infiltrate the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command in Seoul by having its Special Forces soldiers paraglide into it.
Defense officials in South Korea say that, for the first time, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, North Korea’s Special Forces soldiers have “carried out paragliding infiltration drills aimed at the allies’ command post.”
It cited unnamed defense officials, who said the practice missions were part of broader North Korean army drills that lasted several days in mid-September. It included Special Forces teams from its Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The officials also said the paragliding drills were at a North Korean training ground that has a model of the Combined Forces Command building.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un unveiled his country’s Special Forces soldiers during a military parade in April. The soldiers were laughed at by many in the defense community for wearing non-combat sunglasses and for the large helical magazines on their rifles.
Images released by North Korea’s Central News Agency on April 14 showed its Special Forces soldiers parachuting out of Soviet An-2 biplanes.
South Korea is taking the drills seriously. It notes that the paragliders are easy to operate, and the Special Forces soldiers could paraglide from a summit to their target. It also noted that the South Korean Army’s radar may not be able to detect a paraglider attack.
The paraglider attack drills were allegedly the reason that South Korean and U.S. forces held a joint short-range air defense drill in September—the first of its kind in South Korea—it notes.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis reaffirmed on Sept. 6 that the United States would defend itself and its allies from any threats, during a call with South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo.
Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana W. White said that Mattis assured Song that, according to the Pentagon’s DOD News, “the United States remains ironclad in its commitment to South Korea’s defense.”
“He further emphasized that any threat to the United States, its territories or its allies will be met with a massive, effective and overwhelming military response,” White said.
In a show of force against North Korea, the U.S. Air Force flew B-1B Lancer bombers off the coast of North Korea on Sept. 23. The planes were escorted by U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighters from Okinawa, Japan.
White said in a statement that “This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take [North Korea’s] reckless behavior.”
He added that the mission demonstrated the U.S. resolve, and a message from President Donald Trump that the United States “has many military options to defeat any threat.”
“North Korea’s weapons program is a grave threat to the Asia-Pacific region and the entire international community,” he said. “We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies.”
This followed a previous show of force operation on Sept. 17, which was in response to North Korea firing an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japan just three days prior.
The Sept. 17 operation was held in South Korea, and was joined by aircraft from the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
According to a release from U.S. Pacific Command, the live-fire exercise included two B-1B Lancer bombers, four U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fifth-generation advanced fighters, four South Korean F-15K fighters, and four Japanese F-2 fighters.