US flies bombers over Korea as Trump discusses options
N Korea hacks US-South Korean wartime plans
SEOUL: The US military flew two strategic bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force late on Tuesday, as President Donald Trump met with top defense officials to discuss how to respond to any threat from North Korea. Tensions have soared between the United States and North Korea following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In recent weeks, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test, as it fast advances toward its goal of developing a nucleartipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland. The two US Air Force B1B bombers were accompanied by two F-15K fighters from the South Korean military after leaving their base in Guam, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement yesterday.
After entering South Korean airspace, the two bombers carried out airto-ground missile drills in waters off the east coast of South Korea, then flew over the South to waters between it and China to repeat the drill, the release said. The US military said in a separate statement that Japanese fighters also joined the drill, making it the first night-time combined exercise for the US bombers with fighters from Japan and South Korea. The US bombers had taken off from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. In August, Pyongyang threatened to shoot intermediate range missiles towards the vicinity of Guam, a target frequently subjected to sabre-rattling from the North. Officials discuss options
South Korean and U.S. government officials have been raising their guard against more North Korean provocations with the approach of the 72nd anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s ruling party, which fell on Tuesday. Trump on Tuesday hosted a discussion on options to respond to any North Korean aggression or if necessary to prevent Pyongyang from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons, the White House said in a statement. Trump was briefed by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford at a meeting of members of his national security team, the statement said. US and South Korean wartime operational plans, including a plan to wipe out the North Korean leadership, were stolen by North Korean hackers last year, a South Korean ruling party lawmaker said yesterday.
Some 235 gigabytes of military documents were taken from South Korea’s Defense Integrated Data Center in September last year, Democratic Party representative Rhee Cheol-hee said in radio appearances yesterday, citing information from unnamed South Korean defense officials.
Tensions high after weapons tests and bellicose exchanges
GUAM: A US Air Force B-1B Lancers takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to fly sequenced bilateral missions with two Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-15s and two Republic of Korea air force (ROKAF) F-15Ks in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan.