The United States is considering a rotational deployment of its stealth jets to South Korea in response to North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats, government sources said Sunday.
South Korea and the US are discussing the dispatch of F-22 and F-35B fighter jets on a rotational basis as part of efforts to boost extended deterrence against the North's threats, they said.
The allies are known to be discussing the deployment of US strategic assets on a quarterly basis at US air base in Osan, south of Seoul or Kunsan Air Base in the southwest of the divided peninsula, they added.
A handout photo made available by th US Air Force on 01 September 2017 shows a US Air Force B-1B Lancer preparing to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese air space and over the Korean Peninsula, 31 August 2017. (EPA-Yonhap)
The US has periodically sent strategic assets to South Korea, including B-1B bombers, as a show of force when North Korea's provocative acts are escalated.
But a possible rotational deployment reflects growing concerns about a fast advance in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
Experts said that the US seems to accept Seoul's call for the US to offer more powerful and effective extended deterrence as some lawmakers and experts here raised the need for South Korea's nuclear armament.
Extended deterrence refers to the US commitment to mobilize its full range of conventional and strategic military assets, including nuclear capabilities, to protect its allies.
"It is believed that the US is positive toward rotational deployment of F-22 and F-35B jets over Korea as it remains firm in countering North Korea's provocations," a government source said. (Yonhap)