US sends F-22s to South Korea

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Four U.S. F-22 fighter jets arrived in South Korea in the latest show of force against North Korea following its recent rocket launch and nuclear test.

“The F-22 'Raptor' is the most capable air superiority fighter in the world, and it represents one of many capabilities available for the defense of this great nation,” Lt. Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, deputy commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said in a statement. “The U.S. maintains an ironclad commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea.”

The jets arrived in Osan, South Korea, on Wednesday morning local time, or Tuesday night U.S. time.

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An Associated Press photographer witnessed the F-22s flying low over South Korea and being escorted by other U.S. and South Korean fighter jets before landing at the air base, The AP reported.

North Korea is likely to see the move as a threat, as it has similar flights.

Last month, the United States flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over South Korea. That flight happened days after North Korea claimed it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

The latest flight and deployment comes about a week and a half after North Korea launched a long-range rocket. Pyongyang said it launched a satellite, but U.S. officials and others suspect it was a ballistic missile test.

South Korea touted the F-22s after their arrival.

South Korea “and U.S. combined Air Forces remain ready to deter North Korean threats, and are postured to defeat them with the strength of our combined air combat capability,” South Korean Air Force Lt. Gen. Lee Wang-keon said in a statement.

The deployment comes a day after South Korean President Park Geun-hye promised to punish Pyongyang for its recent actions.

“From now on, the government will start taking stronger and more effective measures to push North Korea to make changes by creating an environment in which the North will realize that nuclear development is not a way to ensure its survival, but a way to ensure the quick collapse of the regime,” she said in a televised address. 

The United States and South Korea are also set to begin discussions on deploying a missile defense system to the peninsula in response to the rocket launch.