Air Force Magazine
The recent barrage of ballistic missile tests by North Korea elicited a strong, “trilateral” response from the United States and Pacific allies Japan and South Korea, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) commander Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach told Air Force Magazine on June 9. The show of force was necessary to retain allied unity against Chinese aggression, America’s principal concern in the theater, experts say.
The North test-fired eight short-range ballistic missiles June 5, its largest test in a single day, and brought its total tests per year to 31, the largest number ever in a single year.
The United States and South Korea conducted a combined live-fire exercise June 5, firing one U.S. Army missile and seven Korean missiles into the Sea of Japan, northeast of South Korea.
The two allies also flew 20 fighter jets June 7, including South Korean F 35s, F-15s, and F-16s alongside U.S. F-16s. Separately, the United States and Japan conducted a drill with four Japanese F-15s and two American F-16s.
The most recent tests follow a string of ballistic missile launches by North Korea that began with four tests May 24 that included an intercontinental ballistic missile. In response, on May 25, the United States and South Korea test-fired Republic of Korea (ROK) Hyunmu-2 missiles using the U.S. Army’s Tactical Missile System.
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