At least one B-1B aircraft took part in a joint US-South Korean air force exercise, Seoul said, noting that North Korea fired four ballistic missiles again.
The United States has flown supersonic bombers over its ally South Korea as part of a large-scale integrated aerial exercise involving hundreds of warplanes in a show of force aimed at threatening North Korea. ballistic missile tests this week.
At least one B-1B bomber took part in the final day of joint US-ROK air force exercises that ended on Saturday, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
South Korea’s military also said North Korea fired four short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.
The Exercise Storm Vigilance – involving about 240 fighter jets, including advanced F-35 fighter jets from both countries – provoked an angry response from North Korea.
North this week launched Dozens of missiles plunged into the sea, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that triggered an evacuation alert over northern Japan and sent its own fighter jet inside the country. .
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry late Friday described those military actions as an appropriate response to Typhoon Vigilance, which it called a display of the “hysteria of military confrontation” by the United States. Ky.
Pyongyang says North Korea will response with the “strongest countermeasure” against any attempt by “hostile forces” to infringe upon its sovereignty or security interests.
Large-scale training continues
The B-1B flyover used to be a familiar show of force during a period of tension with North Korea in the past. According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, the US has kept four of the bombers in Guam since late October.
South Korea has asked the United States to step up deployment of “strategic assets,” including aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and long-range bombers such as the B-1B.
After talks with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin in Washington on Thursday, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said the US had agreed to use “US strategic assets at a rate equivalent to continued deployment through increasing frequency and intensity of deployment of strategic assets in and around the Korean Peninsula”.
The planes were last seen in the region in 2017 during another provocative run of North Korean weapons shows. But the flyovers have been halted in recent years as the US and South Korea halted large-scale drills to support The Trump Administration’s Diplomatic Effort with North Korea and because of COVID-19.
The allies resumed large-scale training this year as North Korea ramped up weapons testing at a record pace. They are exploiting divisions in the UN Security Council, which have been deepened by Russia’s war with Ukraine, and North Korea has used the opportunity to accelerate weapons development.
North Korea hates displays of US military might at close range. North Korea continues to describe the B-1B as a “nuclear strategic bomber” although the aircraft was converted to conventional weapons in the mid-1990s.
Typhoon Vigilance was originally scheduled to end on Friday, but the allies decided to extend training to Saturday in response to a series of ballistic missile launches by North Korea on Thursday, including including an ICBM that triggered an evacuation alert and halted trains in Northern Japan.
Thursday’s launches came after North Korea fired more than 20 missiles on Wednesday, the most it has launched in a single day.
These launches come after senior North Korean military official Pak Jong Chon made an anonymous threat of a nuclear conflict with the United States and South Korea over their joint drills. which North Korea says is a rehearsal for a potential invasion.
Korea also on Friday dispute about 80 military aircraft after tracking about 180 flights of North Korean warplanes inside North Korean territory. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korean warplanes were spotted in various areas inland and along the east and west coasts of the country, but not particularly close to the border. Korean world.
The South Korean military detected about 180 flight paths between 1-5 p.m., but it is unclear how many North Korean planes were involved and whether some may have flown more than once.
In a statement Friday issued by an unnamed spokesman, North Korea’s foreign ministry said the United States and South Korea had created a “serious atmosphere of instability” in the region with military drills. their.
Pyongyang accuses Washington of mobilizing its allies in a campaign that uses sanctions and military intimidation to pressure North Korea to unilaterally disarm.
“Protracted provocation is bound to be followed by a lasting counter-attack,” the statement said.
South Korean officials say there are signs that North Korea in the coming weeks could detonated its first nuclear test equipment since 2017.
Analysts say North Korea is trying to coerce the United States into accepting it as a nuclear power and seeking to negotiate economic and security concessions from a great power status.