Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work wrapped up a two-day visit to South Korea on Thursday, visiting US troops at Osan AB, Camp Humphreys, and Command Post Tango, as well as South Korean leaders in Seoul. Work reviewed progress on modernizing the US-Republic of Korea alliance, particularly the development of “comprehensive interoperable alliance counter missile capabilities,” during a meeting with US Forces Korea Commander Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, according to a Pentagon readout of his meetings. Work’s visit coincided with the start of Ulchi Freedom Guardian, a US-South Korean military exercise that drills participants on the defense of South Korea from an assault by the North. Much of Work’s discussions with National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-jin and Defense Minister Han Min-Koo centered on issues relating to North Korea and security in Northeast Asia. Korean officials gave updates on the recent provocations of the Kim Jong Un regime, including large numbers of missile and artillery firings into the Yellow Sea and the threat of a fourth nuclear test. Work also discussed the importance of building trilateral cooperation with Japan, and building effective alliance capabilities between the three allies. Work’s Asia trip continues through this weekend in Japan.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.