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☞ Issue 85
글씨크기 크게 글씨크기 작게 기사 메일전송 기사 출력
Deployment of B-2 Spirit bombers raises stakes in Northeast Asia

Increased combat air power to serve as deterrent to potential regional foes

관리자 (2007/10/14 22:48)  

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force deployed four B-2 Spirit bombers to the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, which has emerged as a military hub in the Western Pacific region as part of its continuous bomber presence. Since August, some analysts say that the U.S. military has increased its military presence against China and North Korea by deploying 40 F-22 Raptors to its air force base in Alaska.

On October 9, the U.S. government-published U.S. Air Force Print News reported: “Four B-2 Spirits from the 393rd Bomb Squadron, deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., arrived here (the Andersen Air Force Base) Oct. 7 as part of a continuous bomber presence.”

Over the next four months, the B-2 Spirits will replace the role of B-52. Col. Damian McCarthy, the commander of the 36th Operations Group, said, “These aircraft have truly unique capabilities and the training opportunities available here will translate into increased combat air power.”

Since February 2004, the U.S. Air Force has continuously deployed high-tech bombers such as the B-52, B-1, B-2 and B-5 to the Andersen base. Attention was focused on the B-2 bombers as they were deployed ahead of North Korea’s test-fire of Taepodong missiles in June of last year.

In January of this year, North Korea strongly accused the United States of conducting a mock attack operation with B-52 bombers on the Korean peninsula. The deployment of B-2 bombers, capable of carrying 16 nuclear bombs (B61 or B81) and reaching the Korean peninsula within four hours, is expected to spark accusations from North Korea as it strengthens its “nuclear umbrella” over South Korea and Japan. During the six-party talks on the North’s nuclear disarmament, Pyongyang has insisted on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and its neighbors. The sophisticated stealth B-2 bomber can strike anywhere in the world with one refueling.

The Air Force Times, a U.S. military newspaper, said the deployment of B-2 bombers to Guam will “serve as a deterrent to potential foes in the region.” In addition to North Korea, the bombers were deployed to cope with a potential military build-up in the Northeast Asia, the paper said. In fact, China is building up its air force with homegrown J-10 fighters and Su-27 fighters from Russia. In addition, Russia declared the resumption of regular training of its long-range bombers for the first time in 15 years. During a training session, Russia’s Tu-95 bombers flew near Guam, heightening tension over the air force build-up in the region.

Along with the Diego Garcia base in the Indian Ocean, Guam is one of four Bomber Forward Operation Locations for the U.S. Air Force. Guam’s importance as a military hub has emerged as the U.S. marines stationed in Okinawa are due to move to the island and sophisticated strategic bombers, air refueling planes and state-of-the-art fighters are deployed to the Guam base.

In particular, it is easy to conduct military operations against North Korea, China, the Straits of Taiwan and the South China Sea from the Guam base, because there are no restrictions in carrying out the operations. Accordingly, Guam is poised as the best alternative after the relocation of U.S. troops to Japan. Guam is located 3,800 kilometers from Pyongyang and 4,500 kilometers from Beijing.
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