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U.S.: B-52s a message to North Korea

March 19, 2013 at 10:17 AM

WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- The presence of B-52 bombers in the Asia-Pacific region is an indication of the U.S. commitment to South Korean security, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week said the military would deploy missile interceptors to the U.S. West Coast as defense against an emerging North Korean threat.

North Korea said its February underground nuclear test was part of a policy against the United States. The North Korean government threatened to use nuclear weapons in response to a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the February test.

Little said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un needs to consider the U.S. military presence outside the Korean Peninsula when weighing military options.

"It's not any secret that we are in the midst of sending a very strong signal that we have a firm commitment to the alliance with our South Korean allies," he said.

The U.S. military used B-52 bombers in military drills with South Korea last week.

"Despite challenges with fiscal constraints, training opportunities remain important to ensure U.S. and (South Korean) forces are battle-ready and trained to employ airpower to deter aggression, defend South Korea and defeat any attack against the alliance," Little said.

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