US long-range strategic bomber B-1B Lancers, flanked by F-15K and F-16 fighter jets, fly through the sky over South Korea's east, 08 July 2017. The South Korean and US air forces staged a joint drill in a stern warning to North Korea against its latest test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on 03 July.
US long-range strategic bomber B-1B Lancers, flanked by F-15K and F-16 fighter jets, fly through the sky over South Korea's east, 08 July 2017. The South Korean and US air forces staged a joint drill in a stern warning to North Korea against its latest test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on 03 July. EPA - YONHAP

US unleashes bombers in ‘North Korea air strike drill’

TWO American supersonic bombers conducted live-fire drills in South Korea in a show of force after North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The pair of B-1B Lancer strategic bombers flew from a US base on Guam and were joined by US and South Korean jet fighters for the operation, reports The Sun.

They then carried out the simulated destruction of an enemy ballistic missile launcher and underground nuclear bunker facilities, the South's air force said.

North Korea announced on Tuesday it successfully test-launched an ICBM, saying the missile was capable of carrying a large and heavy nuclear warhead.

Some experts believe the missile has the range to reach Alaska and Hawaii and the test signalled a significant advance in the North's declared intent to build a nuke which can hit the US mainland.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the test indicated a quicker than expected pace of the North's ICBM program.

The B-1B bombers conducted the live-fire exercise at a range in South Korea's eastern Gangwon province, dropping weapons in a simulated attack on a missile launcher.

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

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the bombers then flew west, hugging the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) border between the two Koreas, before leaving South Korean airspace.

The drill follows a joint artillery and missile exercise by South Korean and US forces a day after the North's ICBM test.

Despite the sabre-rattling, the United States and South Korea have said they are committed to resolving the crisis over the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile peacefully.

Wrapping up his second European tour, Trump and Asian allies searched for consensus on how to counter what the president called the "menace" of North Korea.

"Something has to be done about it," Trump said as he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In a separate meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said the two were tackling "the problem and menace of North Korea."

The White House said after the meeting with Abe that the US was "prepared to use the full range of capabilities" in defence of Japan.

Trump and Abe committed, the White House said, "to redoubling their efforts to bring all nations together to show North Korea that there are consequences for its threatening and unlawful actions."

The Trump administration has tried to pressure Beijing to rein in North Korea, a major trading partner, to halt Kim Jong-un's development of nuclear weapons before they have the ability to threaten the U.S. homeland.

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

But during his meeting, Trump told Xi, "I appreciate the things that you have done relative to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea."

The US, Japan and South Korea agreed on Friday to push for a quick UN Security Council resolution to put new sanctions on North Korea.

North Korea has hailed the ICBM test as marking the completion of is strategic weapons capability that it says includes atomic and hydrogen bombs.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a mausoleum honouring state founder Kim Il-sun on Saturday, the anniversary of his grandfather's death, the North's official KCNA news agency reported.

The US is also expected to test its THAAD missile defence system against an intermediate-range ballistic missile in the next few days.

The test of the system, designed to shoot down medium and intermediate range missiles, has been planned for months, Reuters reported.

The THAAD interceptors will be fired from Alaska.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

News Corp Australia


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