U.S. bombers, escorted by South Korean fighters, flew near the Korean Peninsula Monday, according to American military officials.
Two B-1B Lancers flew out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The bombers conducted “bilateral training missions with their counterparts from the Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces,” Lt. Col. Lori Hodge, Pacific Air Forces public affairs deputy director, told reporters, according to DOD Buzz.
It is unclear how close the bombers were to the demilitarized zone, the divide between North and South Korea, or whether they were armed.
In recent weeks, the U.S. military has been moving high-level strategic assets to the peninsula. The nuclear-powered, Ohio-class submarine USS Michigan arrived in the South Korean port city of Busan recently, and a heavily-armed U.S. Navy carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson is operating in waters near Korea.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield in South Korea is also operational and has initial intercept capability, indicating that it is ready to shoot down North Korean missiles.
North Korea has threatened to sink both the Michigan and the Vincent.
“The gangster-like U.S. imperialists have gone extremely reckless in their moves to unleash a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) wrote in response to U.S. military deployments.
The North accused the U.S. bombers of training to drop nuclear bombs on North Korean cities. “The reckless military provocation is pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war,” the state-run outlet reported.
“The army of the DPRK is keenly watching the military movement of the U.S. imperialists, fully ready to react to all forms of war they will opt for with a powerful nuclear treasured sword,” KCNA wrote, adding, “The U.S. imperialist warmongers would be well advised to always remember the solemn warning of the Korean People’s Army.”
The movement of U.S. military assets into the area are believed to be in response to repeated North Korean provocations. The North has fired off nine ballistic missiles this year.
In response to questions of whether the Trump administration plans to use military force against North Korea, President Donald Trump said, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
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