A U.S. B-1B bomber flew over the Korean peninsula on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, as part of a large-scale joint aerial drill that has been denounced by North Korea as pushing the peninsula to the brink of nuclear war, Reuters reports.
The bomber flew from Guam and joined U.S. F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters in the exercises with South Korea. The drills, which kicked off on Monday and will run until Friday, are being conducted at a time of heightened tensions on the peninsula.
They also come after North Korea tested last week what it called its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could reach all of the United States.
North Korea regularly threatens South Korea, the United States and their allies, and its official KCNA state news agency said at the weekend U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration was “begging for nuclear war” by staging the drills.
It also labeled Trump as “insane”.
The drills also coincided with a rare visit to the isolated North by United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman.
Some analysts and diplomats hope Feltman’s visit to North Korea could spark a U.N.-led effort to defuse rising international tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea’s state media confirmed the arrival of Feltman and his entourage late on Tuesday without offering more details, later issuing a photograph of him and two members of his team.
Feltman, a former senior U.S. State Department official, is the highest-level U.N. official to visit North Korea since 2012. The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday he was not carrying any message from Washington during his visit.