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US B-1B bombers will join exercise in South Korea, says Yonhap

The United States will deploy B-1B Lancer bombers on the Korean peninsula on Wednesday as part of a joint exercise with South Korea involving 230 combat aircraft, Yonhap News said, citing an unnamed source.

A similar simulation in September saw the plane fly to the northernmost tip of the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, of any US fighter or bomber in the 21st century. This led Pyongyang to say that it had the right to shoot down strategic US warplanes. UU In the international airspace as part of its right to self-defense under the Charter of the United Nations.

United States Pacific Air Force spokeswoman Lori Hodge issued a statement saying she would not discuss future missions for reasons of operational safety. The United States "has maintained a presence of rotating strategic bombers in the region for more than a decade," Hodge wrote.

Fighter jets rolling at Kunsan Air Base on December 3.

Photographer: Colby L. Hardin / U.S. Air Force via Getty Images

The Guam-based long-range multi-mission supersonic aircraft will carry out bombing drills with South Korean fighter jets, Yonhap said, without specifying the number of bombers that will join the exercise. The Vigilant Ace 18 exercises involve 230 aircraft and 12,000 US troops, in what North Korea has called the largest joint air exercise.

Threat of retaliation

North Korea, which last week launched a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, said before the drills that it would consider the "highest-level hard-line countermeasure in history" , according to the Korean state news agency. He referred to a similar statement in September, which Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said could include a ground-level test of a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

Photographer: KCNA / AFP via Getty Images

North Korea regularly cites military drills around the peninsula as justification for its nuclear program and missile test. The isolated regime of November 29 launched an ICBM with improved technology that, he said, can launch a nuclear warhead anywhere in the US. UU And he claimed that he had completed his nuclear force.

On Tuesday, a senior United Nations official began a [19659015] four-day visit to the isolated state for talks with Ri and other officials. The Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, is not receiving a message from the US. UU., State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters at a briefing.

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