South Korean protesters stage a rally to oppose U.S. F-22 stealth fighters’ arrival in South Korea, near the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. Four U.S. F-22 stealth fighters are flying over South Korea amid growing tensions following North Korea’s rocket launch. The signs read “ Oppose the arrival of F-22 stealth fighters and the possible deployment of the United States’ advanced defense system THAAD.”

South Korean protesters stage a rally to oppose U.S. F-22 stealth fighters’ arrival in South Korea, near the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. Four U.S. F-22 stealth fighters are flying over South Korea amid growing tensions following North Korea’s rocket launch. The signs read “ Oppose the arrival of F-22 stealth fighters and the possible deployment of the United States’ advanced defense system THAAD.”

U.S. stealth jets flying over S. Korea amid N. Korea standoff

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Four U.S. F-22 stealth fighters flew over South Korea on Wednesday in a clear show of power against North Korea, a day after South Korea’s president warned of the North’s collapse amid a festering standoff over its nuclear and missile ambitions.

The high-tech planes capable of sneaking past radar undetected were seen by an Associated Press photographer before they landed at Osan Air Base near Seoul. They were escorted by other U.S. and South Korean fighter jets.

Pyongyang will likely view the arrival of the planes as a threat as they are an apparent display of U.S. airpower aimed at showing what the United States can do to defend its ally South Korea from potential aggression from North Korea.

The United States often sends powerful warplanes to South Korea in times of tension with North Korea. Last month it sent a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber to South Korea after North Korea defiantly conducted its fourth nuclear test.

The international standoff over North Korea deepened earlier this month when Pyongyang ignored repeated warnings by regional powers and fired a long-range rocket carrying what it calls an Earth observation satellite. Washington, Seoul and others consider the launch a prohibited test of missile technology.

Foreign analysts say the North’s rocket launch and nuclear test put the country further along it its quest for a nuclear-armed missile that could reach the U.S. mainland.

South Korea’s president on Tuesday warned North Korea faces collapse if it doesn’t abandon its nuclear bomb program, an unusually strong broadside that is certain to infuriate Pyongyang.

In a speech at parliament, President Park Geun-hye said South Korea will take unspecified “stronger and more effective” measures to make North Korea realize its nuclear ambitions will result only in accelerating its “regime collapse.”

Park made the speech while defending her government’s decision to shut down a jointly run factory park in North Korea in response to the North’s rocket launch. Pyongyang retaliated by expelling all the South Koreans there, put its military in charge of the area and cut off key communication hotlines between the Koreas.

It is unusual for a top South Korean official to publicly touch on such a government collapse because of worries about how sensitive North Korea is to talk of its authoritarian government losing power. Pyongyang has long accused Washington and Seoul agitating for its collapse.

After the rocket launch, Seoul announced that talks would begin with Washington on deploying a sophisticated U.S. missile defense system in South Korea and that the allies’ annual military drills in the spring will be the biggest ever.

The deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is opposed by North Korea, China and Russia. Opponents say the system could help U.S. radar spot missiles in other countries.

Pyongyang has also called regular U.S.-South Korea military exercises a rehearsal for a northward invasion. The allies say their drills are defensive in nature.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Bernard Gordon (Washington State Department of Corrections)
Everett pimp sentenced to 21 years for human trafficking

Bernard Gordon, 33, has a long history of sexual violence against women, here and in King County.

Traffic will be rerouted from a closed section of 220th Street SW just west of I-5 for overnight road repairs Wednesday and Thursday. (Sound Transit)
Overnight work to close 220th Street SW and southbound I-5

Contractor crews plan to repair 220th and need to close the freeway for light rail work.

Galina Volchkova, the Volunteers of America Housing Director, discusses the volume of applications for rental assistance her office received Friday. (Katie Hayes / The Herald) 20210618
7,000 tenants, waiting for help, fear eviction after June 30

Rental assistance money won’t reach many landlords before the coronavirus eviction moratorium expires.

Edmonds council moves to ‘prevent unnecessary evictions’

An emergency ordinance was passed Tuesday with the aim of helping fill a gap in eviction protection.

Lynnwood man is challenging the legality of his imprisonment

The Island County Jail inmate was temporarily sent to a state prison and allegedly held in solitary confinement.

With the Olympic mountains in the background, the first passenger flight by Alaska Airlines Flight 2878 departs for Portland on opening day of the Paine Field Terminal on Monday, March 4, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Snohomish County airports get $5.5 million in federal grants

Paine Field will receive $5.4 million. Arlington’s airport and Harvey Field each are getting $59,000.

Chris Stack and Samantha Soule film a scene of their movie, "Midday Black, Midnight Blue," on the Coupeville wharf June 14. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Indie film crew: Whidbey residents are ‘generous and welcoming’

The movie makers are shooting scenes for a full-length feature at various sites around the island.

Police block a road while responding to a fatal shooting at the Colonial Gardens apartments in Lake Stevens on May 24. (Dakota Bair, file)
Prison guard charged with murder of Lake Stevens roommate

Emmanuel Perez shot his roommate seven times, according to prosecutors. He has pleaded not guilty.

Kira Mauseth, a clinical psychologist, is co-lead of the state Department of Health's Behavioral Health Strike Team. (contributed photo)
‘A perfect storm’ of mixed emotions as state nears reopening

Pause before making decisions and act with compassion, says a Behavioral Health Strike Team psychologist.

Most Read