US military forces hold joint military exercises with South Korea, Japan
The United States military has carried out several flights over the Korean Peninsula in joint bombing drills with the South amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
Four US F-35B stealth fighter jets and two B-1B supersonic bombers took part in the joint drills on Monday.
The fighter jets flew from a US military base in Japan, while the bombers flew from the US Pacific island of Guam, joined by six South Korean fighter jets in the drill, a South Korean Defense Ministry official was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.
The US said it conducted the new military exercise with the South in response to the North’s recent missile and nuclear tests, said the source.
The American and South Korean forces carried out a “mock bombing exercise over the sky of Korea” on Monday, the source added.
After the drills, the F-35B jets and B-1B bombers returned to their bases in Japan and Guam respectively.
The flights were the first since Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and staged an intermediate-range missile test over Japan last Friday. The previous such flights were on August 31.
US-Japan military drill
In another development on Monday, the US’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) held urban warfare and frontline rescue drills near the foot of Mount Fuji.
The so-called Orient Shield 17 drills, which are part of an annual two-week exercise, were held with around 1,200 soldiers taking part.
The drills kicked off on September 8 and are scheduled to end on the 25th.
The US military has tens of thousands of combat forces based in Japan and South Korea.