Accompanied by fighters from South Korea and Japan, US bombers staged a simulated attack on the Pilsung training range, just miles from the Korean demilitarized zone, dropping live bombs on the site. The bombers involved were from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base.
This is significant not only because the simulated attack run used live bombs, but also because the bombers in question were dispatched form Guam, the base from which an actual US attack on North Korea has long been anticipated to originate.
Such a move raises the stakes of a bombing run so close to North Korean soil, and doubtless had the nation gearing up for the possibility of a real war starting, with retaliatory strikes at the ready. Which isn’t to say that such “shows of force” are rare in the area.
Far from it. The soaring tensions between the US and North Korea have everyone in the region fearing war at a moment’s notice, and major military exercises are seemingly constantly ongoing. While the US, Japan, and South Korea are holding this bombing run, Russia and China are also beginning naval exercises in the area, making clear they’re present and ready to respond to any sudden wars.
Such shows of force tend to build upon one another, with everyone trying to one-up one another on such activity. Such moves necessarily also raise tensions even further, and risk precipitating an accidental war.