U.S. B-1B strategic bombers flew past the demilitarized zone after North Korea tested its third ballistic missile in three weeks Monday.
U.S. and South Korean forces conducted joint drills Monday, the second exercise this month, reports the Wall Street Journal. North Korea called the move a “grave military provocation.” North Korea said the U.S. is pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the “brink of war” with the introduction of B-1B Lancers.
The supersonic strategic bombers, deployed from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, are long-range, multi-mission aircraft capable of reaching Korea in 2.5 hours. The U.S. has maintained a continuous bomber presence in the region for decades as part of American deterrence posturing. North Korea often accuses the U.S. of preparing for nuclear strikes against it, even though B-1B bombers are no longer nuclear capable.
The recent flyby “clearly proves that their talk about ‘dialogue’ is nothing but hypocrisy to disarm the DPRK and their wild ambition to eliminate the DPRK with nukes remains unchanged even a bit,” the Korean Central News Agency said in response to the actions of the U.S. Air Force.
“The US imperialist warmongers should not forget, even for a moment, that their increasing danger of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula would precipitate a disaster in which the U.S. mainland turns into a scorched earth,” North Korean state media added.
The flight past the DMZ, which was confirmed by South Korean defense officials, came just hours after North Korea tested a new ballistic missile — a Scud variant. North Korea has successfully launched three new missile systems in three weeks — namely the new Scud, the liquid-fueled Hwasong-12 medium long-range ballistic missile, and the solid-fueled Pukguksong-2 mid-range ballistic missile — advancing the reclusive regime’s ballistic missile program at an accelerated rate. The North also tested an improved surface-to-air missile system Sunday.
The U.S. sent a pair of B-1B bombers flew past Korea earlier this month and conducted joint drills with both South Korea and Japan in the wake of a failed North Korean missile test.
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