May 28, 2023

U.S. bombers and fighters off N. Korea’s east coast: why Pyongyang didn’t react

Flying in the Sea of Japan close to the DPRK has been exceptionally hazardous in the past

In the wee hours of September 23, U.S. bombers and F-15C fighters flew over the Sea of Japan (known in Korea as the East Sea) north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea. It was said to be the first such flights in the area this century, and reports would have readers believe that the sorties were unique accomplishments of aerial derring-do. Well, maybe – but probably not.

Any statement that an aircraft flew in “international waters” in attempting to show bravery or demonstrate force has little value. While international law allows countries to claim 12 miles (22 kilometers), it is well known that North Korea does not accept that limitation, having long claimed 50 nautical miles (92 kilometers) as their territorial airspace