South Korea is considering purchasing 20 more F-35 strike fighters because of concerns about the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported. The country agreed to buy 40 of the jets in 2013. “As North Korea appears to have enhanced its nuclear and missile capabilities in recent years, we are mending our existing wartime strike programs against the North,” a military official told the agency. North Korea has been aggressively testing ballistic missiles and nuclear devices, including last week’s purported test of a nuclear warhead.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.