US Bombers Drill Near North Korea In 'Show of Force'

Cheryl Sanders
July 11, 2017

The B-1B bombers flew to the region for a practice bombing run as part of a joint exercise, where they were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets on Friday (7 July), the Pacific Air Force said on Saturday.

The re-entry feature of North Korea's missile program is not established, said Yi Wan-young, a South Korean lawmaker who was briefed by National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon on Tuesday in a closed-door session for lawmakers.

The bombers involved in last week's activities are all part of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron based at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and deployed to the US territory of Guam in February.

South Korean and United States fighter jets also conducted precision strike drills aimed at attacking enemy targets hidden underground.

The communiqué urged all parties to adopt China's plan that would see Pyongyang suspend its ballistic missile program and the US and South Korea simultaneously call for a moratorium on large-scale military exercises.

Tension further escalated after Tuesday's ICBM test, a milestone in the North's decades-long quest for weapons capable of reaching the US.

A pre-emptive military strike may be among Trump's responses, but analysts say it's one of the unlikeliest options the United States can take because North Korean retaliations would cause massive casualties in South Korea, particularly in Seoul, which is within easy range of North Korea's artillery.

President Donald Trump said Thursday he's considering unspecified "pretty severe things" in response to the North's ICBM launch.

Moon's statement reiterated his push to use both dialogue and pressure to try to resolve the standoff over North Korea's weapons programmes.

Trump has voiced his frustration in recent days that China hasn't done more.

The announcement from South Korean authorities comes as USA ambassador Joseph Yun, the special representative for North Korea Policy, is on his first day of a week-long visit to Singapore and Myanmar.

The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said in May it didn't believe Pyongyang has had success with either the booster or re-entry vehicle that would carry a nuclear warhead.

'Song of Hwasong Rocket' and 'Make Others Envy Us' were performed at the celebrations, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency reported, as cited by AP.

USA military officials described the mission Friday as a defensive show of force and unity from the three allied nations and said it demonstrated "the ironclad US commitment to our allies".

However, the Russian Ministry of Defense assessed it was an intermediate-range missile (IRBM), saying it flew some 535km and reached an altitude of 510km.

The THAAD interceptors will be fired from Alaska.

Other reports by iNewsToday