US flies bombers over Korea as Trump dis­cusses op­tions

N Korea hacks US-South Korean wartime plans

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

—AFP

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.

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