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US bombers conduct military drills over Korean peninsula

IANS | Seoul |

Two B-1B strategic bombers of the US Air Force trained with South Korea’s F-15K fighter jets over and near the Korean peninsula in yet another show of force against North Korea, defence authorities here said on Wednesday.

The bombers took off from the US Pacific territory of Guam on Tuesday night, before entering South Korean airspace and conducting firing exercises over the East Sea and Yellow Sea, South Korea’s military said.

They staged a simulated air-to-ground missile firing drill with two F-15K fighters over the East Sea and flew across the peninsula, Yonhap news agency reported.

The B-1Bs and the F-15Ks then had another round of a firing exercise over the Yellow Sea. The bombers flew out of the KADIZ at around 11.30 p.m., added the JCS.

It was part of a “regular deployment training” aimed at enhancing the capability of implementing the “extended deterrence” against the North, the JCS said.

“Through the practice this time, South Korean and US Air Forces showed off the allies resolve for strong retaliation against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” it said.

Late last month, the US flew B-1Bs over international waters close to the North’s east coast.

The US said Japan’s Air Force also took part in the drill.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump met top officials from his National Security team on Tuesday night for a briefing on ways to respond to threats from North Korea, the White House said.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un exchanged heated rhetoric in recent weeks. In a speech at the UN in September, the US President accused the North Korean leader Kim of being “on a suicide mission” — while Kim responded by vowing to “tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire”.

On Tuesday, a South Korean lawmaker said North Korean hackers had reportedly stolen a large cache of military documents from his country, including a wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US and South Korea.