F-22 Stealth Jets Join Military Drills in S. Korea

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
March 31, 2013 Updated: April 3, 2013

 F-22 stealth fighters joined South Korean forces in military drills on Sunday amid recent threats from North Korea.

Reuters reported that the F-22 Raptors, which can evade radar, were sent to Osan Air Base, the main U.S. Air Force base in the country.  

“(North Korea) will achieve nothing by threats or provocations, which will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” the statement reads.

Officials said that the F-22 deployment demonstrates the U.S.’s commitment to defending South Korea against any potential attack, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

The move comes just a few days after the U.S. sent B-52 bombers and B-2 nuclear-capable stealth bombers to South Korea. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the move was not intended to provoke Pyongyang.

Last week, North Korean state media said that Pyongyang has entered into a “state of war” with South Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also put rocket units on standby, with state media saying the regime would strike targets in South Korea, the U.S. mainland, and military bases in the Pacific.

Tension on the Korean Peninsula have been high since February when the North carried out its third nuclear test, contravening United Nations sanctions, which drew condemnation from the U.S., the U.N. Security Council, and others.

The White House said Saturday it is taking seriously new threats by North Korea but also noted Pyongyang’s history of “bellicose rhetoric.”

“We’ve seen reports of a new and unconstructive statement from North Korea. We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean allies,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council. “But, we would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats, and today’s announcement follows that familiar pattern.”

North Korea’s threats are seen as part of an effort to provoke the new government in Seoul to change its policies toward Pyongyang, and to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could get it more aid.

The moves also are seen as ways to build domestic unity as North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, strengthens his military credentials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.