According to CNN, four US F-35B fighter jets joined two US B-1B bombers and four South Korean F-15 fighter jets in the joint US-South Korean flyover of the Korean Peninsula.
A North Korean air force official told the news outlet that this show of force was intended to “strongly counter North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile tests and development of nuclear weapons.”
US Pacific Command released a statement, describing the drill as a “direct response to North Korea’s intermediate range ballistic missile launch.”
General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of Pacific Air Forces, added: “North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilising actions will be met accordingly.”
This follows North Korea’s recent series of weapons tests, with the most recent taking place earlier this week when a ballistic missile was launched over the north of Japan.
B-1 bombers were also flown over the Korean border following both of Pyongyang’s successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles – weapons designed to carry nuclear warheads over long distances, fuelling fears that the country’s military can perfect its missile technology amidst growing hostilities with the US.
They took off from the Andersen Air Force Base, located on the US territory of Guam, which was also the target of threats from North Korea earlier in August.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency declared this week’s missile launch to be ‘a meaningful prelude to containing Guam’, also describing the territory as an ‘advanced base of invasion’ for US forces.
A later statement saw the agency promise future launches with the Pacific as the primary target – “where the US imperialist aggressor forces’ bases are stationed.”
It continued: “It should not be forgotten even a moment that the whole of South Korea can turn into ruins.”
The US air force added, via a statement of its own, that the B1s had flown from Guam, with the four stealth fighter jets flying from a US Marine Corps base in Japan.
Today’s news follows US President Donald Trump’s assertion at the start of August that any future escalation in tensions by Kim Jong-un would be met with ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’.
Sources: CNN, the Sun
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