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US bombers overfly Korean peninsula in show of force

  • Published at 06:45 pm October 11th, 2017
US bombers overfly Korean peninsula in show of force

The United States has flown two supersonic heavy bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force against Pyongyang, staging the first night-time joint aviation exercises with Japan and South Korea.

Two B-1B Lancers based in Guam flew a mission in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan late Tuesday, the US Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.

"Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea and hones the tactical prowess of each nations' aviators," Major Patrick Applegate said in a statement.

South Korean defence authorities on Wednesday said the bombers staged a simulated air-to-ground missile firing drill with two South Korean fighters over the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

The four aircraft then flew across the peninsula and staged another round of a firing exercise over the Yellow Sea before the two B-IBs returned home, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

Trump discusses 'options'

The bomber drill came as US President Donald Trump on Tuesday discussed "a range of options" with his national security team to respond to North Korea's recent missile and nuclear tests.

The briefing by his defence secretary James Mattis and top military officer General Joseph Dunford "focused on a range of options to respond to any form of North Korean aggression or, if necessary, to prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons," according to a brief statement from the White House.

It came days after he said that diplomatic efforts with North Korea have consistently failed, adding that "only one thing will work".

Trump has engaged in an escalating war of words with North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un, trading insults amid rising tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

The North's missile and nuclear capabilities have made significant progress under Kim, who on Saturday told party officials that the country's atomic weapons were a "treasured sword" to protect it from aggression.