Published : 2016-08-04 09:39
Updated : 2016-08-04 09:39
A dozen U.S. F-16 fighter jets and hundreds of airmen have arrived in South Korea to help beef up defense of the Asian ally, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said, as North Korea keeps ratcheting up tensions with a series of missile launches.
The South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing arrived at South Korea’s Osan Air Base with more than “300 Airmen and 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons, ready to demonstrate the commitment to always be ready to ‘fight tonight,'” PACAF said in a statement Tuesday.
The Air Force routinely makes such deployments in support of South Korea’s defense, it said.
“Enhancing U.S. and Korean interoperability assures shared international responsibilities to provide assistance during regional crises and allows us to build cooperation and bolster regional security interests and goals,” Lt. Col. Nicholas Johnson, Pacific Air Forces chief of fighter operations, said in a statement.
“This deployment underscores U.S. commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific rebalance in an unpredictable and uncertain region and sends a clear message to the international community that the U.S. is serious about security and stability in the region,” he said.
The deployment came as North Korea has steadily been ratcheting up tensions with a series of banned ballistic missile launches. In June, Pyongyang claimed success in its sixth test of the Musudan intermediate-range missile believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam.
Early Wednesday, the North fired two medium-range Rodong ballistic missiles. One of them exploded immediately after launch, but the other flew about 1,000 kilometers and landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone waters in a demonstration of its capability to strike the neighboring nation. (Yonhap)
Original post @koreaherald.com