The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the flights basically amounted to a “nuclear bomb dropping drill against major objects,” according to North Korean official state news agency KCNA.
“The reckless provocation,” KCNA said, “is pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war.”
The B-1B bombers took part in an exercise with South Korean and Japanese air forces, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) said on Tuesday. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun maintained that the drills were meant to deter the North from any further provocation.
“The US conducts Continuous Bomber Presence Operations as part of a routine, forward deployed capability supporting regional security and our allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” a PACAF spokeswoman told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
On Monday, Seoul and Washington commenced Key Resolve war games, which have drawn Pyongyang’s ire. North Korea has done little to soothe tensions, however, as it continues to work on its nuclear weapon capability in addition to conducting a number of ballistic missile tests.
The North’s most recent missile test on Saturday morning was widely described as failed, but South Korean experts now believe the explosion of the “unidentified missile” over the mainland was not an accident, but a “test to develop a nuclear weapon different from existing ones,” a South Korean defense official told the Korea Times.