SEOUL – Two American B-1B strategic bombers conducted fresh maneuvers on the Korean peninsula in a new show of force by Washington against Pyongyang.
The bombers simulated hitting ground targets with two F-15 South Korean air force fighters, said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense in Seoul.
This is the first time that the B-1B has carried out joint drills at night with its two Asian allies, a statement by the US Air Force had said, adding that the bombers had also carried out maneuvers with Japanese fighter planes the same evening.
“This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies anytime, anywhere,” Commander Patrick Applegate said in the statement.
The US bombers had entered South Korea’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) at 8:50 pm Tuesday and executed a series of exercises over the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea in the two Koreas).
The two bombers and the two fighters flew over South Korean territory and carried out another round of mock drills over the Yellow Sea (West Sea in the two Koreas).
The American B-1B left the ADIZ around 11:30 pm Tuesday and returned to its base on Guam island, said the spokesperson, adding that it was a regular exercise with dissuasive intentions.
The Pentagon has dispatched the B-1B to the Korean peninsula several times in response to repeated weapons test by Pyongyang, which has escalated tension in the region to unprecedented levels.
The last time the US sent these bombers was on Sept. 23 after US President Donald Trump had threatened to destroy North Korea during a speech at the United Nations, and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, following heated exchange of accusations and counter-accusations between the two leaders.