The US is reported to have dispatched a set of supersonic bombers and fighter jets to the Korean Peninsula on Thursday, 31 August, to warn the Kim Jong-un regime after North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Tuesday.Two B-1B Lancer bombers flew from the US Air Force base in the Pacific island territory of Guam to conduct bombing drills, where they were joined by two F35 stealth jets in an apparent show of force against North Korea, defence officials were reported as saying.
The Marine Corps’ F35 jets based in Japan were flanked by four F-15K fighters as they trained over South Korea, and a KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling plane, the officials said, according to Yonhap news agency.
The aircraft conducted bombing drills over the Pilseung range in the eastern South Korean province of Gangwon.
The drills were designed to “strongly counter North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile tests and development of nuclear weapons,” a South Korean air force official told CNN.
The Seoul-based Yonhap news agency described the flyovers as “high-profile training” as it comes two days after the rogue nation fired a long-range ballistic missile over the northern territory of Japan – the first such incident in eight years.
Flights of the powerful nuclear-capable B1-B bombers have now become routine in the region, especially after North Korea fired missiles in defiance of international warnings and sanctions. They are a key strategic asset to the US forces operating in the Asia-Pacific region.
This is believed to be the fourth time the US military has flown B-1B bombers over the peninsula since North Korea fired an ICBM for the first time in July.
Hours after Pyongyang’s latest ICBM launch, South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered his country’s air force to flex its muscles and send a strong warning to the isolated country.
The air force’s F-15K fighter jets dropped powerful bombs hitting mock targets at a military field near an inter-Korean border in Taebaek.
Tension has been boiling over in the Korean peninsula after the reclusive state fired dozens of missiles and two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of 2016.
Pyongyang has also vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile that it says will be capable of hitting the US west coast.