The U.S. Air Force conducted a practice bombing exercise on the Korean peninsula late last week, which North Korean officials have called a “reckless military provocation.”
The 10-hour mission was conducted just three days after North Korea conducted their first successful launch of an ICBM, which landed in the waters that mark Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Reports indicated that two U.S military bombers released static weapons Friday on a training range in South Korea. The Air Force bombers were joined by South Korean F-15 and U.S. F-16 fighter jets. In addition, the bombers also flew with Japanese F-2 fighter jets over the East China Sea on their return trip to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
U.S. military officials defended the drill as a “defensive show of force,” meant to demonstrate the country’s “ironclad” commitment to allies. President Trump, along with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, issued a joint statement condemning the launch. The trio met to discuss the growing threat, during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
However, commentary in the ruling party’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper condemned the training, noting that it was a “dangerous move” that raised the risk of nuclear war. The statement was translated into English before being aired by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. The entire missile launch, including Kim Jong-Un’s celebratory response, were also broadcast by the agency.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, requested new sanctions against Pyongyang at a recent security council meeting, cautioning that America’s “considerable military forces” could be used against the communist regime. “The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies,” warned Haley last Wednesday. “We don’t want to have to do that, but we will.”
In recent weeks, President Trump has said that his “patience with North Korea is over,” prompting fears that war is inevitable. The U.S. is expected to deliver a new draft resolution to the UN sometime this week, that will outline an international response “proportionate to North Korea’s continued provocation.” South Korean President, Moon Jae-in has said he would be willing to meet with Kim Jong-Un, in an effort to stop “hostile activities.”