Amidst North Korea’s ongoing verbal salvos, the United States has made a show of military strength in the annual drills taking place in the Korean Peninsula.
Here are the key dates:
March 8: US flies B-52 bombers over South Korea
The Cold War-era bombers flew out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam as part of what the U.S. Pacific Command called a routine mission to highlight a “continuous bomber presence” in the region. A second fly-over was planned for March 26.
March 22: US and South Korea sign joint military agreement
The Combined Counter-Provocation Plan was signed in order to improve the countries’ mutual readiness and response capabilities in the event of a North Korean provocation.
March 26: US flies B-52 bombers over South Korea again
The exercise – the 2nd in a month – was a routine mission meant to “reiterate the U.S. commitment to the security of our allies and partners,” according to the Pentagon.
March 28: US flies nuclear-capable B-2 Spirit bombers over South Korea
The stealth bombers flew from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to drop inert munitions as part of annual joint US-South Korea military exercises. The US military said the mission demonstrated “the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will.”
March 31: US deploys F-22 Raptor jets to US Air Force Base in South Korea
The US Command in South Korea says the stealth fighter jets were deployed to support annual US-South Korea training exercises.
April 1: US Navy moves warship and sea-based radar platform closer to North Korean coast
The Defense Department said the USS John S. McCain destroyer and the oil rig-like SBX-1 will better monitor North Korea’s military moves, and may be the first of other naval deployments.
April 3: US announces missile defense system to be sent to Guam in coming weeks
The land-based Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) will defend against North Korean ballistic missile launches, according the Defense Department.