U.S. deploys nuke-sniffer to Japan amid North Korea threats

Cheryl Sanders
April 15, 2017

Japan and the US are strengthening their guard against North Korea by stationing an American observation aircraft in Okinawa to detect a possible nuclear weapons test by the Kim Jong Un regime, according to a senior Japan Self-Defense Forces official.

According to Cenciotti, the Air Force's two WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft are Boeing C-135 transport and support planes derivatives belonging to the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base, with mission crews staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

The U.S. Air Force has been deploying one of two WC-135 "nuclear sniffer" planes to the Asia Pacific region to monitor and collect radioactive data since October 2006 when North Korea conducted its first underground nuclear test through last September when it carried out its fifth test.

While North Korea has conducted both intermediate and long-range missile as well as nuclear tests many times before, especially in honor of its historical milestones, the world has become even more on edge due to the increasing frequency of the latest tests as well as Kim Jong Un's threats through his state-run media arm.

On Tuesday, roughly 200 foreign journalists gathered in North Korea ahead of Saturday's celebrations were told to ready themselves for a "big and important event", though it isn't clear whether that event has anything to do with the country's nuclear development. "If they are unable to do so, the USA, with its allies, will!"

The U.S. has sent a strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the waters off the Korean Peninsula. But President Trump must remember that shows of force may have to be back up by. force.

This move came as Trump continued to ply China to step up their pressure on North Korea, as he met with President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

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