The United States flew some of its most advanced warplanes in bombing drills with ally South Korea on Thursday, a clear warning after North Korea launched a midrange ballistic missile designed to carry nuclear bombs over Japan earlier this week, South Korea's military said. North Korea hates such displays of US military might at close range and will likely respond with fury, the AP reports. Two US B-1B supersonic bombers and four F-35 stealth fighter jets joined four South Korean F-15 fighters in live-fire exercises at a military field in eastern South Korea that simulated precision strikes against the North's "core facilities," an official from Seoul's Defense Ministry said.
The B-1Bs were flown in from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, while the F-35s came from a US base in Iwakuni, Japan, the South Korean official said. The bombing exercise came as the United States and South Korea wrapped up their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military drills that involved tens of thousands of soldiers. North Korea condemns the annual US-South Korea war games as rehearsals for an invasion and described Tuesday's launch over Japan as a countermeasure against the drills. In Beijing, a Defense Ministry spokesman said all parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that escalate tension. (Analysts saw an "ominous" clue in Pyongyang's latest missile launch.)