On Wednesday, U.S., South Korean, and Japanese warplanes flew over the Korean Peninsula to demonstrate their capabilities to North Korea with live fire events, ignoring Russian warnings about escalating tensions in the region.
According to USA Today, two U.S. B-1B supersonic bombers, and four U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jets joined four South Korean jets and two Japanese warplanes for a ten hour mission of formation flying and live fire exercises.
“This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our allies and underscores the broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat,” said U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, according to USA Today. “Our forward-deployed force will be the first to the fight, ready to deliver a lethal response at a moment’s notice if our nation calls.”
“No matter when, how and where the enemy provokes, we will perfectly retaliate to make it feel an insurmountable sense of fear and deep regret,” added South Korean Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Won In-chul, according to USA Today.
— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) August 31, 2017
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said during a Wednesday meeting with South Korea’s Defense Minister Song Young-moo at the Pentagon that diplomatic options are not off the table, despite the direct show of force by all three of North Korea’s immediate enemies.
“We’re never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis said according to USA Today. ” We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations and our interests, which is what we’re here to discuss today.”
Mattis isn’t afraid of Russia
According to USA Today, this allied display of force was in response to North Korea’s launch of a Hwasong-12 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday morning.
Pyongyang, however, said their Tuesday missile launch was in response to U.S./South Korean war drills.
Russia seemed to agree with Pyongyang, and did not blame North Korea for launching the missile, or for increasing tensions in the region. Instead, Russia echoed Pyongyang, claiming that the annual joint war drills — which concluded Thursday — antagonized North Korea into Tuesday’s missile test.
Russia has demonstrated the communist North Korean regime when it comes to the conflict between the U.S. and North Korea. In fact, Russia flew its own war planes around the Korean Peninsula as a warning to the U.S. and South Korea.
On August 24, Russia flew Tupolev-95MS nuclear bombers, and A-50 planes equipped with advanced intelligence-gathering capabilities over the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.
The flight came with a warning to the U.S. from Moscow that urged “maximum caution” against sparking military conflicts in the region.
USA Today reported that on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to avoid a military solution, but also that Moscow views any new potential sanctions against North Korea as “counterproductive and dangerous.”
Mattis and his Japanese and South Korean counterparts are clearly not heeding Russia’s warnings.