US flies fighter jets over Korean peninsula after N.Korean successful missile test

One of two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flies a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo/Handout via REUTERS

The United States flew two B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force after recent North Korean missile tests, the U.S. Air Force said in a statement on Sunday, Reuters reported.

North Korea said it conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday that proved its ability to strike America’s mainland, drawing a sharp warning from U.S. President Donald Trump, according to Reuters.

The B-1B flight, conducted on Saturday, was in direct response to the missile test and the previous July 3 launch of the “Hwansong-14” rocket, the U.S. statement said. The bombers took off from a U.S. air base in Guam, and were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets during the exercise, according to the statement.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said in the statement.

“If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing”.

The U.S. has in the past used overflights of the supersonic B1-B “Lancer” bomber as a show of force in response to North Korean missile or nuclear tests, Reuters said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally supervised the midnight test launch of the missile on Friday night and said it was a “stern warning” for the United States that it would not be safe from destruction if it tries to attack, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

North Korea’s state television broadcast pictures of the launch, showing the missile lifting off in a fiery blast in darkness and Kim cheering with military aides, Reuters added.

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