WASHINGTON – Six military aircraft, including two US heavy bombers, flew over the Korean peninsula on Tuesday night on a live-fire drill, US officials said on Tuesday.
The United States Pacific Air Force (PACAF) said on Tuesday that two B-1B Lancer strategic bombers flew over waters off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula as part of the latest military maneuver against North Korea.
They were joined by South Korea’s two F-15K fighter jets and Japan’s two F-15 fighter jets.
“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 nation’s aviators,” US Air Force Major Patrick Applegate said.
“This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies anytime, anywhere,” he added.
The mission was launched Tuesday night as North Korea marked the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea, but Pyongyang did not respond to these military exercises.
On the same day, US President Donald Trump was briefed by his national security team on “a range of options” to respond to North Korea’s threats in the face of possible aggression.
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that “this morning President Trump met with members of his national security team to receive a briefing from General Mattis and General Dunford.”
“The briefing and discussion focused on a range of options to respond to any form of North Korean aggression, or, if necessary, to prevent North Korea from threatening the US and its allies with nuclear weapons,” Sanders added.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un praised again on Sunday the development of his nuclear program as a weapon against threats from the US, while Trump said in a statement on Saturday that “only one thing will work” with Pyongyang.
The US president, however, did not specify whether this expression referred to a military action against the Kim Jong-un regime, although he has said many times that he does not rule out this option.
Since his arrival in the White House, Trump has raised his rhetoric against North Korea, while Pyongyang has been advancing its weapons tests, inviting international condemnation in the launches of both medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles several times this year, some of them with the potential to reach the American soil.