US bombers halt flying over Korean Peninsula to help peace process
Washington, Nov 27: American bombers are no longer conducting flights over South Korea after Seoul sought to pause such missions, a US general said on Monday, November 26, according to an AFP report.
Charles Brown, head of US Pacific Air Forces, told reporters at Pentagon that the mission was halted to allow the ongoing diplomatic efforts addressing the nuclear activities of North Korea have some space.
"As we're going through the diplomatic aspect, we don't want to actually do something that's going to derail the diplomatic negotiations," Brown was quoted as saying.
"So that's part of the reason why we're not doing (flights) over Korea."
The US maintains bomber planes like B-1B, B-52 and B-2 on its territory in Guam since 2004 under its "Continuous Bomber Presence Mission". These planes are used for conducting flights over the region, also with ally nations like Japan, South Korea and Australia may a times, for asserting a strong military presence against North Korea and other potential foes. The US, however, hasn't affected the number of flights even though it has stopped flying over the Korean Peninsula.
As the current year has seen a series of diplomatic measures to establish peace in the Korean Peninsula and the isolationist regime of Kim Jong-un of North Korea has reached out to countries like US, South Korea and China, there has been a scaling down of joint military drills between Washington and Seoul, especially in the wake of the historic summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in June.
Trump had said after that meeting in Singapore that the US would stop holding joint exercise with South Korea - something her called expensive and "very provocative".
US Defence Secretary James Mattis said last week that the US and South Korea are also reducing the scope of their joint drill scheduled in 2019 named "Foal Eagle", the report added.