November 29, 2023

North Korea denounces South’s plan to buy stealth fighters

ROK Air Force hopes to overcome the North’s air and air defense strategy

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency and Rodong Sinmun newspaper on December 4 denounced plans by the South Korean military to buy the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet. North Korea portrayed the plans as decided by the United States with aggressive intentions. The Rodong also quite frankly noted the offensive capabilities of the F-35 against the North and the U.S. military’s preference for using air power.

South Korea’s reasons for updating its air force go beyond just North Korea, but Pyongyang still has very real cause for concern. In keeping up with other regional powers, such as China and Japan, Seoul’s military air power is widening its gap with the North’s, and surpassing the North’s ability to defend against air attacks. North Korea has long understood and feared the superior air power of South Korea and its allies and does what it can to counter that threat.