USA flies bombers over Korean peninsula as Trump discusses options

USA flies bombers over Korean peninsula as Trump discusses options

USA flies bombers over Korean peninsula as Trump discusses options

Two US B-1 bombers carried out a training exercise today with Japanese and South Korean military aircraft in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan, the US military said, amid growing tension over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

The two US Air Force B-1B bombers were joined 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 on Wednesday.

North Korea watchers have been on alert for a possible provocation by the communist state in the days surrounding a key holiday Tuesday to mark the founding anniversary of its ruling party.

According to Reuters, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test in recent weeks as it fast advances toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland.

Visits by USA warships and bombers along with regular joint exercises with the South infuriate North Korea, which considers them a sign of aggression and a rehearsal for an invasion.

United States and South Korean wartime operational plans, including a plan to wipe out the North Korean leadership, were stolen by North Korean hackers previous year, a South Korean ruling party lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Bishop and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne are in South Korea to hold the third round of the so-called "two-plus-two" talks with their South Korean counterparts Friday.

Speaking to Russia's state-run TASS news agency, North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said his country's nuclear program guaranteed peace and safety in the region and would not be a matter of discussion.

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A spokesman from South Korea's Defense Ministry declined to comment, saying the information is classified.

The speech came about a week after the UN Security Council had voted to ratchet up sanctions on North Korea following its sixth and largest nuclear test.

"If the North Koreans in fact accessed the US/South Korean defense plans, this is a treasure trove of information and presents a real danger", said CNN military analyst and retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona. "Australia stands with South Korea in solidarity against provocative, illegal behavior of North Korea".

This comes after US President Donald Trump last night discussed a "range of options" with his national security team to respond to North Korea's recent nuclear tests.

South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers after the September 23 mission that North Korea failed to detect the B-1B bombers as they flew in global airspace east of the country. "This positive process is worth a try", the paper said in an editorial late on Tuesday.

When it first opened in 2004, the Kaesong complex, located about 54 kilometers northwest of Seoul, was meant to promote inter-Korean development and give North Korean workers a taste of life in the south, including snack foods like the cakes known as Choco Pies and toiletries that were resold as luxury items in the North.

"The Korean-American relationship is very important and our visit to Chinhae gives us the opportunity to strengthen the outstanding relationship that exists between the USA and [South Korea]", said Cmdr.

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