The United States placed troops stationed in South Korea on high alert Monday following an alleged hydrogen bomb test by North Korea.
— GMA News (@gmanews) January 11, 2016
The US responded to the claim by flying a B-52 bomber from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam over Osan, South Korea on Sunday and South Korea resumed its theatrical anti-North Korea propaganda broadcasts on the border.
— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) January 10, 2016
The alert was ordered by Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the UN Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea. Scaparrotti issued the order during a visit to the US and South Korea jointly operated Osan Air Base.
“The United States and South Korea are continuously and closely having discussions on additional deployment of strategic assets,” said Kim Min-seok, spokesman at the South Korean defense ministry.
The US is considering the deployment of B-2 bombers, F-22 stealth fighter jets, and nuclear submarines.
There are currently 28,500 US troops in South Korea. The Republic of Korea Armed Forces is one of the largest standing armed forces in the world with a reported personnel strength of 3,600,000 with 700,000 active.
According to the Seoul-based Korea Economic Research Institute North Korea’s military personnel strength stands at 1.2 million. It has a large artillery arsenal. It is estimated the communist country can fire 500,000 rounds on Seoul in the first hour of a conflict. Seoul is 25 miles from the Demilitarized Zone and has a population of 24 million people.
Analysts say a war between North and South Korea would end quickly due to the North’s lack of airpower and aged military equipment.
Despite its dubious thermonuclear test and customary saber-rattling it is believed Pyongyang would not risk an all-out conflict with South Korea and the United States.