5 Mar 2003

US to bolster defences in Guam

5:17 pm on 5 March 2003

United States defence officials say 24 B-1 and B-52 bombers are to be sent to Guam in the western Pacific to deter any aggression by North Korea in case of a war in Iraq.

The officials said yesterday the move is a prudent measure to keep peace on the tense Korean peninsula, but said it was not prompted by the interception of a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane by four North Korean fighters in international air space on Sunday.

Navy Lt Cmdr Jeff Davis says deploying the additional forces is a prudent measure to bolster our defensive posture and as a deterrent."

Lt Cmdr Davis refused to provide any details on the weapons being moved from the United States, but other defense officials have told Reuters privately that two dozen swing-wing B-1 jets and heavy eight-engine B-52s were being moved immediately to Guam.