North Korea calls US practice bombing run a provocation

Jul 9, 2017
In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, a US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber, left, drops a bomb over the Korean Peninsula, South Korea Saturday, July 8, 2017. Two US bombers flew to the Korean Peninsula to join fighter jets from South Korea and Japan for a practice bombing run as part of a training mission in response to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes, officials said Friday. Photo by South Korea Defense Ministry via AP

SEOUL: North Korean state media have sharply criticised a recent practice bombing run by two US B-1B bombers on the Korean peninsula, calling it a dangerous move raising the risk of nuclear war.

A commentary Sunday in the ruling party’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper accused the US of “reckless military provocations” and said the danger of nuclear war is reaching an extreme pitch. The commentary was reported on in English by the state Korean Central News Agency.

Two US Air Force bombers released inert weapons Friday on a training range in South Korea. South Korean F-15 and US F-16 fighter jets joined them in the drill. The bombers also flew with Japanese F-2 fighter jets over the East China Sea on their way back to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

The 10-hour mission came three days after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile on Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day. President Donald Trump and the leaders of South Korea and Japan, meeting during the G-20 summit in Germany, issued a joint statement condemning the launch.

US military officials described the bomber mission as a defensive show of force and unity that demonstrated “the ironclad US commitment to our allies.” –AP