The US Air Force is monitoring the tension in Korea and is prepared to respond immediately if hostilities between North and South Korea escalate, according to chief of staff general Norton Schwartz.

The US Air Force kept its fighter jets at normal alert status a day after a North Korean artillery attack on 23 November.

Schwartz said the service has plenty of firepower in the region and is ready to send fighter jets from Osan and Kunsan Air Bases in South Korea as well as Kadena Air Base on the Japanese prefecture Okinawa to respond to the situation.

Schwartz said the South Korean Air Force, which has eight F-15 flying combat air patrols, was leading the air response, according to

North Korea fired artillery shells at the island of Yeonpyeong, killing at least four people and increasing tensions between South and North Korea.