Japan fighters, US bombers conduct exercise off the Korean Peninsula
TOKYO — Two Japanese fighter jets and two US bombers conducted a joint exercise off the Korean Peninsula on Sunday, Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kishida said.
The joint drill, by two F-2 fighters of the Japan Air SelfDefense Force and two B-1 bombers of the US Air Force, was “part of the concrete action agreed by Japanese and US leaders at their summit meeting on May 26,” said Kishida.
He also said that the drill was conducted under “the severe security situation including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s latest missile launch”, and aimed to further strengthen deterrence and coping capability of the Japan-US alliance and show Japan’s will and capacity to stabilize the region.
Kishida doubles as defense and foreign minister after Tomomi Inada announced her resignation on Friday over a coverup scandal.
The B-1B flight was in direct response to Friday’s missile test and the July 3 launch of the Hwasong-14 rocket, said a statement from the US Air Force on Sunday. The Republic of Korea air force said the flight was conducted early on Sunday.
The bombers took off from a US air base in Guam, and were joined by Japanese and ROK fighter jets during the exercise, km according to the statement.
DPRK leader Kim Jong-un personally supervised the midnight test launch of the missile on Friday night and said it was a “stern warning” for the United States that it would not be safe from destruction if it tries to attack, the DPRK’s official KCNA news agency said.
DPRK state television broadcast pictures of the launch, showing the missile lifting off in a fiery blast in darkness and Kim cheering with military aides.
The Hwasong-14, named after the Korean word for Mars, reached an altitude of 3,725 km and flew 998 km for 47 minutes and 12 seconds before landing in the waters off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast, KCNA said.
Western experts said calculations based on that flight data and estimates from the US, Japanese and South Korean militaries showed the missile could have been capable of going as far into the United States as Denver and Chicago.
the distance flown by the DPRK’s Hwasong-14 rocket
A couple walk past burning vehicles after a suicide car bomb attack on a popular mall in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Sunday. A police officer said a car bomb blast near a police station in Somalia’s capital has killed at least five people and wounded at least 13 others. Most of the victims were civilians. Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab often carries out deadly bombings in Mogadishu.