On Saturday, an American B-1B strategic bomber was redeployed to the Korean peninsula for a joint air drill, said the South Korean military. This comes a day after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which landed just 200 kilometres away from Japan.
“South Korea and the US conducted a joint air drill today with the US Air Force’s B-1B strategic bomber redeployed on the Korean peninsula,” said South Korean military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a statement. They added that the drill saw the participation of some of the most advanced jets in the US and South Korean air forces which also included the F-35 stealth fighter.
The air force is reportedly a sensitive issue for North Korea since it is their military’s weakest link as it lacks high-tech jets as well as trained pilots, said experts. On Thursday, Pyongyang’s foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, criticised the trilateral summit between the United States, South Korea and Japan. Whereas countries during the summit that took place last Sunday condemned North Korea’s ongoing weapons tests and pledged greater security cooperation.
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The US Air Force calls B-1B, “the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force” which can strike anywhere in the world, notably it no longer carries nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the United Nations Security Council will convene on the request by the United States, along with South Korea and Japan, where they will strongly condemn the latest ICBM launch by North Korea.
The ICBM is also reportedly capable of reaching the US mainland, “We urge all Security Council members to take this responsibility seriously and unite in condemning the DPRK’s (North Korea) dangerous and unlawful behaviour,” said the US mission to the 15-member Security Council in a statement. It added that “relevant Security Council resolutions must be fully implemented” and Pyongyang should be held accountable for violating them.
(With inputs from agencies)
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