A second Korean conflict has never been far from the minds of American and South Korean defence planners. The conflict of 1950-1953, which claimed over 1 million lives, never actually ended: an armistice stopped the fighting, but technically Seoul and Pyongyang are still at war, pending a "final peaceful settlement". This seems as remote as ever, with North Korea ramping up its ballistic missile programme and refining its nuclear weapons. Meanwhile the unpredictable, often jingoistic, messaging of President Donald Trump has stoked tensions. The stage is set for a miscalculation that could lead to war. However a conflict actually starts, there can be no doubt that one of Seoul's and Washington's trump cards is airpower.
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