The United States is considering a rotational deployment of its stealth jets to South Korea in response to North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats, government sources said Sunday.
South Korea and the U.S. are discussing the dispatch of F-22 and F-35B fighter jets on a rotational basis as part of efforts to boost extended deterrence against the North’s threats, they said.
The allies are known to be discussing the deployment of U.S. strategic assets on a quarterly basis at U.S. air base in Osan, south of Seoul or Kunsan Air Base in the southwest of the divided peninsula, they added.
The U.S. has periodically sent strategic assets to South Korea, including B-1B bombers, as a show of force when North Korea’s provocative acts are escalated.
But a possible rotational deployment reflects growing concerns about a fast advance in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Experts said that the U.S. seems to accept Seoul’s call for the U.S. to offer more powerful and effective extended deterrence as some lawmakers and experts here raised the need for South Korea’s nuclear armament.
Extended deterrence refers to the U.S. commitment to mobilize its full range of conventional and strategic military assets, including nuclear capabilities, to protect its allies.
“It is believed that the U.S. is positive toward rotational deployment of F-22 and F-35B jets over Korea as it remains firm in countering North Korea’s provocations,” a government source said.