September 29, 2017 11:03
South Korean warships and fighter jets were on standby south of the land and sea border on the night of Sept. 23, when U.S. B-1B strategic bombers and F-15C fighter escorts buzzed the North Korean maritime border, it emerged on Thursday.
This suggests they worried that the situation was touch-and-go and could have resulted in armed conflict if North Korea tried to shoot the fighter jets down.
According to a senior military officer, South Korean F-15K and KF-16 fighter jets were scrambled at dead of night and began flying patrol near the demilitarized zone and the Northern Limit Line, the de facto border in the East Sea.
At the same time, several Navy vessels were on standby south of the NLL. It was an unusually heavy presence at a time when South Korea and the U.S. were not staging any joint exercise. They were preparing for an emergency, the officer added.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff here were watching the situation from the underground command and control room in Yongsan, Seoul. But the emergency alert was lifted as there was no response from the North.
The U.S. bombers and fighters returned to their bases in Guam and Okinawa without incident.
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