Seoul : The US 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. “This drill was part of a routine deployment training aimed at enhancing deterrence” against the North’s nuclear threats, the JCS said in a statement.”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 added. The B-1Bs also conducted exercises with Japan’s Air Force in what the US statement called a “sequenced bilateral mission”.
Tensions over North Korea’s weapons programme have soared in recent months with Pyongyang launching a flurry of missiles and conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test last month.