B-1B bomber joins US-South Korea drills as tensions escalate

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan conducts joint drills with the South Korean navy at sea

Two dozen F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters of the USA are taking part in the exercise, the largest joint air drills ever recorded on the Korean peninsula, with 230 aircraft and some 12,000 troops mobilized.

While the US military aircraft conducted simulated strikes, the South Korean warplanes actually dropped MK-82 bombs.

But the report says worldwide pressure can be effective, pointing to Uganda's recent decision to expel North Korean officials after years of receiving police and military training from the country's army.

The drills, which started on Monday and will run until Friday, come after North Korea tested what it called its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach all of the United States. Yet the Air Force claimed that the drills were "not in response to any incident or provocation" and pointed out that the US and South Korea carry them out every year.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has flown a supersonic B1 bomber over South Korea in a show of force against Pyongyang, AP reports. After each American military exercise with South Korea or Japan in recent months, China has announced its own drills in neighboring areas.

North Korea routinely uses strong language to denounce U.S.

United Nations undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman is scheduled to meet senior officials including Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Vice Minister Pak Myong-guk as well as United Nations staff working in the hermit state, reports the Korea Times.

Were Analysts Bearish Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION) This Week?
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But Chinese leaders have criticised the nuclear build-up of Kim Jong-Un's regime as well as lambasting the US and South Korea for escalating tensions.

The B-1B Lancer bomber flew from Guam and joined the massive joint aerial drills over the peninsula on Wednesday, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

North Korea said that further escalation through joint drills "will only invite more bad retaliation and precipitate their self-destruction".

"Through the exercise, the South Korean and US air forces have demonstrated the alliance's strong will and capability for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats", South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, USA Today reports.

Sanctions are being implemented, and countries like Uganda have complied and expelled North Korean officials who once trained military and police.

Defectors tell of deformed babies, deaths and lingering disease for those living near North Korea's nuclear testing zones.

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