Two U.S. strategic bombers penetrated the airspace over the Korean Peninsula on Monday to conduct joint drills with the air forces of Japan and South Korea, according to media reports.
A pair of supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers departed from the Andersen Air Force base in Guam. The military drills near North Korea were long-planned, but kept quiet by U.S. officials to avoid increasing political tensions in the region, CNN reported.
“These flights demonstrate the solidarity between South Korea, the United States, and Japan to defend against North Korea’s provocative and destabilizing actions,” Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told Reuters.
The drills over the Korean Peninsula did not go unnoticed by Pyongyang. The North Korean government called the military training “an impressive act of military provocation again” on its state-run news network, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), according to Korea Times.
Pyongyang also reiterated its previous warning that the U.S. is bringing the two nations closer to nuclear war.
“Trump and other U.S. war-mongers are crying out for making a pre-emptive nuclear strike at the DPRK day after day,” the North’s official KCNA news agency said, using the country’s official name. “The reckless military provocation is pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war.”
The military drills over the Korean Peninsula coincided with Trump’s controversial announcement that he would be honoured to meet with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un to solve the conflict between the two nations when the circumstances are right.
No preceding U.S. president had ever met with North Korea’s leader, or even expressed a desire for an official meeting.
Apart from dispatching the bombers over the peninsula, the U.S. has also deployed to the East Sea, the supercarrier USS Carl Vinson and an anti-ballistic missile system known as THAAD to South Korea.
On Jan. 9, 2016, a U.S. B-52 strategic bomber conducted a flight over the peninsula in response to North Korea’s nuclear test.
With a file from the Telegraph