WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — The United States has deployed three B-2 stealth bombers to the U.S. territory of Guam as North Korea provocations continue to heighten tensions in the region.
The U.S. Strategic Command said Tuesday the B-2 bombers were moved from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
The deployment comes less than a week after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles. One took Japan by surprise when it landed in Tokyo’s exclusive economic zone.
Japan recently ordered its Self-Defense Forces to intercept and destroy incoming flying objects. The command, issued on Monday, is to apply to all incoming projectiles.
The United States periodically deploys stealth bombers in the Asia-Pacific region. The deployment of the stealth bombers to Guam is to provide a deterrent for the maintenance of regional stability, according to U.S. Strategic Command.
The B-2 bombers are to be used in training flights and to test how well the aircraft can be integrated with the forces of regional allies, the Strategic Command said.
Increased North Korea provocations in recent months have been followed by a South Korean decision to deploy THAAD, a U.S. anti-missile defense system.
The decision has led to a downturn in South Korea-China relations.
South Korean opposition party politician Shin Dong-keun told South Korean reporters on Tuesday that China could return to its “blood alliance” with North Korea if Seoul deploys THAAD.
Shin had attended a roundtable discussion with Chinese experts in Beijing.
Some experts, including Li Bin at Tsinghua University, said Seoul should install a different radar along with THAAD, such as a Green Pine radar, to assuage Chinese concerns, according to the report.