The U.S. flew two strategic bombers over South Korea Tuesday, the first ever joint nighttime maneuvers by U.S. and South Korean forces over the Korean Peninsula.
Two B-1B Lancer bombers, accompanied by South Korean F-15K fighter jets, took off from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam — which Pyongyang has threatened to attack — and performed air-to-ground missile drills over the East Sea before flying over South Korea and repeating the drills above the Yellow Sea.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Japanese air force also took part.
The exercise was conducted to show the “strong will and ability” of South Korean and U.S. forces in response to “North Korean nuclear and missile threats,” the Joint Chiefs said.
South Korean officials called the drill part of “regular deployment training,” aimed at strengthening its capability to deter offensive action by the North.
The exercise was held as U.S. President Donald Trump met with senior members of his national security team at the White House to discuss countering the North Korean threat.
The flyover, which coincided with celebrations for the 72nd anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s ruling party, is likely to provoke a reaction from Pyongyang.
Last month, North Korea’s foreign minister warned the regime had the right to shoot down any U.S. bombers, even outside the North Korean airspace.