U.S. Air Force deploys 4 B-52 bombers to Guam
SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- The United States has deployed four B-52 nuclear-capable bombers to Guam to demonstrate America's "commitment to the region," its military said Wednesday, amid concerns Pyongyang could conduct provocative acts in time for key political events.
The U.S. Pacific Air Forces said the bombers and more than 220 Air Force personnel have arrived at Andersen Air Force Base on the Pacific Island to support training efforts with allies and partners.
Speculation has lingered that Pyongyang could stage another show of force to mark the 80th birthday of his late father, Kim Jong-il, on Wednesday and the 110th birthday of his late grandfather Kim Il-sung on April 15.
The late leader's birthday this week has so far been largely uneventful, with the North's state media highlighting his legacies, such as improvement in the country's ties with China.
The U.S. military said the arrival of the bombers demonstrates the U.S.' security commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.
"Put simply, we are here to support a stable, secure, and free Indo-Pacific region," Lt Col. Christopher Coleman, the commander of the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, was quoted as saying.
Last month, Pyongyang ratcheted up tensions with seven known rounds of missile launches, including the test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of targeting Guam.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force was also said to have flown an RC-135V surveillance jet over the greater Seoul area Wednesday, possibly to monitor activities in the North on Kim Jong-il's birthday.
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