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US bombers carry out drill near Korea’s demilitarised zone in response to the North’s missile test

Four US and South Korean jet fighters joined the live fire drill days after North Korea said it successfully tested a missile that experts said had enough range to reach Washington D.C.

world Updated: Jul 09, 2017 11:27 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Seoul
North Korea,US,North Korea missile test
A US Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, at the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on July 7, 2017. (AFP Photo)

US bombers carried out a rare live fire drill in South Korea Saturday, flying close to the North Korean side of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) in a show of force after Pyongyang’s latest missile test, the South’s defence ministry said.

After the drill, the B-1B Lancers, deployed from the Anderson Air Base in Guam, flew close to the tense and heavily militarised land border with the North before turning back, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The exercise aimed to “sternly respond to the series of North Korea’s ballistic missile launches,” the South’s military said in a statement.

Four US and South Korean jet fighters joined the live fire drill, which was conducted at a range in Yeongwol County, some 80 kilometres south of the inter-Korean border, the military said.

Read | US calls for global action as North Korea claims its missile can carry nuclear warhead

The long-range heavy aircraft each dropped a 907.1 kilos laser-guided bunker-busting smart bomb.

The drill simulated the two US bombers destroying enemy ballistic missile batteries and South Korean jets mounting precision strikes against underground enemy command posts, it said.

“Through this drill, the South Korean and US air forces demonstrated strong determination to thoroughly punish the enemy for its provocative acts, and showed off their capability to pulverize enemy command posts,” the statement said.

North Korea on Tuesday test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, an apparent game-changer in its confrontation with Washington over its nuclear and missile programmes.

Read | After missile test, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un vows more ‘gift packages’ for US

In response, US and South Korean soldiers fired ballistic missiles simultaneously in a drill Wednesday, simulating an attack on the North’s leadership “as a strong message of warning,” the South’s military said at the time.

The US Missile Defense Agency said Friday it would soon test an anti-ballistic missile system in Alaska, days after the North demonstrated its arsenal was capable of striking parts of Alaska with the ICBM test.

First Published: Jul 08, 2017 11:29 IST