US military authorities said Tuesday it had completed the deployment of 15 US F-117 stealth bombers to South Korea for four months of operations. The radar-evading bombers have been deployed to a US base in Gunsan, 260 kilometers (156 miles) southwest of Seoul, the US military said in a statement.
This marked the third time that US stealth bombers had been deployed to South Korea since 2003.
The deployment was part of its "normal air expeditionary forces rotation (AEF) schedule," the statement said.
"This standard AEF deployment... provides F-117 pilots and crews with the opportnunity to train alongside F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and conduct operations in a deployed environment that incorporates a variety of weather conditions," it said.
The F-117, equipped with laser-guided bombs and air-to-surface guided missiles, was used in operations in Panama, Kosovo and Iraq.
North Korea has denounced the deployment of the stealth jets as preparations for a preemptive nuclear strike on the communist country.
The United States and North Korea remain locked in a tense standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
North Korea has boycotted China-hosted nuclear disarmament talks -- which also include the United States, South Korea, Japan and Russia -- since June last year.
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U.S. Denies Split On N. Korea Policy
by Philip Turner
Washington (UPI) June 6, 2005
The United States will continue to seek a diplomatic resolution with North Korea over its nuclear program despite comments over the weekend that Washington would take the issue to the U.N. Security Council, a senior U.S. State Department official said Monday.
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