Tensions continue to flare on the Korean peninsula as the US and South Korea staged another show of force after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
US B-1B Lancer hypersonic bombers and F16s joined South Korean F-35As in a flight on Saturday following Pyongyang’s ICBM test on Friday. US B1-Bs were not deployed to the Korean peninsula for five years until earlier this month when they participated in the final day of the massive Vigilant Storm exercises.
Pyongyang has carried out a record number of weapons tests this year as the US and South Korea have restarted war games. This year’s iteration of Vigilant Storm was the largest ever and provoked North Korean missile and artillery launches. In response to the weapons tests, the US and South Korea extended Vigilant Storm, which provoked even more launches from Pyongyang.
During North Korea’s ICBM test on Friday, the country’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, inspected the launch with his daughter, revealing her to the media for the first time. North Korea’s Central News Agency said Kim attended the launch “together with his beloved daughter and wife.”
Despite the spike in tensions and the tit-for-tat escalations, the Biden administration has shown no interest in changing its approach to North Korea. The administration is still calling for the “denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula, which is a non-starter for talks with Pyongyang.