The U.S. Air Force on Saturday sent a pair of B-1 bombers near the North Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force after North Korea last week fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could reach Alaska, and North Korean state media has since complained and accused the United States of “reckless military provocations.”
North Korea said the move could provoke nuclear war, the Korean Central News Agency said, reporting its commentary in English, according to a report in Fox News.
The U.S. sent the bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Saturday. North Korea fired its first ICBM on the eve of July Fourth, last Tuesday, local time, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said it was a “gift” for the “American bastards.”
The B-1 bombers recently departed Anderson Air Force Base in Guam and flew 2,000 miles, where they joined South Korean fighter jets and Japanese fighters for the drill, dropping bombs over the Korean Peninsula during a 10-hour exercise at the Pilsung Range in the corner of northeast South Korea, according to Fox News.
The mission was a “demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies,” the Air Force said, Fox reported.
The B-1 bombers can carry 84 500-pound bombs.
“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland,” said Pacific Air Force Commander Gen. Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, according to Fox. “Let me be clear: if called upon, we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces.”
The United Nations met last week to discuss the ICBM test.
Haley and officials from Russia and China did not see eye-to-eye, as Haley spoke about quelling the missile threats with forcible actions, adding that “time is short.”
“The international community can cut off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime. We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons programs. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable,” Haley told the U.S. Security Council, according to an Associated Press report.
However, in a seemingly opposite reaction, Russia and China said there should be “parallel halt” in military operations by any countries in the Korean Peninsula, including the United States, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Russia and China have some diplomatic power in the situation, as they are the only two countries – aside from South Korea – who share a border with North Korea, and both countries are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.