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Analyst: U.S. could deploy B-2, F-22 bombers after North Korea launch

The B-2 is the weapon North Korea fears the most.

By Elizabeth Shim
A B2 stealth bomber makes a flyover at the Rose Parade in 2009. File Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/6a569afa3e347517368e8b8aac1ba227/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A B2 stealth bomber makes a flyover at the Rose Parade in 2009. File Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- North Korea's recent launch of an earth observation satellite could be met with a U.S. response involving strategic bombers, a South Korean analyst said.

Aircraft that could be deployed include the B-2 strategic stealth bomber and the F-22 stealth fighter, Yonhap reported.

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The possibility of deployment is high, now that the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier and the USS Ronald Reagan, another Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier, are deployed in the U.S. Seventh Fleet area of the Western Pacific.

Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Seoul's Dongguk University, said North Korea would be strongly threatened by moves involving U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises.

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The United States has previously demonstrated a show of force when the Air Force dispatched B-52 and B-2 bombers to South Korea on Jan. 10, with the B-52 returning to Guam after flight.

North Korea had condemned the move, calling it "stupid," adding it would take on nuclear threats with a nuclear response.

Lee Il-woo, an analyst at Korea Defense Network in Seoul, a nongovernmental organization, said the United States is likely to dispatch stealth bombers, including the B-2, in response to North Korea's satellite launch Saturday.

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The rocket launch is believed to be a cover for a test of Pyongyang's ballistic missile technology.

South Korean newspaper Herald Business reported the B-2 is the weapon North Korea fears the most, and is capable of infiltrating North Korea airspace undetected and could strike key targets, including the leadership's palace in Pyongyang.

The B-2 was deployed during the war in Kosovo in 1999 and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The Northrop Grumman aircraft is estimated to cost $1.2 billion.

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