US F-22 Jets Fly Over S. Korea Amid N. Korea Standoff

US F-22 Jets Fly Over S. Korea Amid N. Korea Standoff

Four US F-22 stealth fighters flew low over South Korea on Wednesday in a clear show of force against North Korea, a day after South Korea’s president warned of the North’s collapse amid a festering standoff over its nuclear and missile ambitions.
The high-tech planes capable of sneaking past radar undetected were seen by an AP photographer before they landed at Osan Air Base near Seoul. They were escorted by other US and South Korean fighter jets, AP reported.
Pyongyang will likely view the arrival of the planes flown from a US base in Japan as a threat as they are an apparent display of US airpower aimed at showing what the United States can do to defend its ally South Korea from potential aggression from North Korea.
“The F-22 ‘Raptor’ is the most capable air superiority fighter in the world and it represents one of many capabilities available for the defense of this great nation,” Lt. Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, deputy commander of the US military command in South Korea, said in a statement.
“The US maintains an ironclad commitment” to the defense of South Korea, he said.
The US military would not say how long the F-22s will be deployed in South Korea.
The United States often sends powerful warplanes to South Korea in times of tension with North Korea. Last month it sent a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber to South Korea after North Korea defiantly conducted its fourth nuclear test.
The international standoff over North Korea deepened earlier this month when Pyongyang ignored repeated warnings by regional powers and fired a long-range rocket carrying what it calls an Earth observation satellite. Washington, Seoul and others consider the launch a prohibited test of missile technology.
After the rocket launch, Seoul announced that talks would begin with Washington on deploying a sophisticated US missile defense system in South Korea and that the allies’ annual military drills in the spring will be the biggest ever.
Pyongyang has also called regular US-South Korea military exercises a rehearsal for a northward invasion. The allies say their drills are defensive in nature.

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