A US B-1B strategic bomber returned to South Korea to participate in the joint military exercise on Sunday, just 16 days after its previous deployment, as Pyongyang fired yet another ballistic missile into the East Sea, Yonhap news agency reported citing the defence ministry.
The drills took place in skies over the Korean Peninsula as part of the Freedom Sheild exercise that has been undergoing since March 13. The drills also include F-35A stealth fighter jets of South Korea and US F-16 fighters, according to the ministry.
Previously, a B-1B bomber was deployed to the peninsula on March 3, as per the Yonhap news report. The deployment seen as a show of force against North Korea as Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the East Sea on Saturday. North Korea fired the short-range ballistic missile three days after Pyongyang test-fired a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The defence ministry said the joint air drills demonstrated the robust combined defence posture of the South Korean and US air forces and commitment to extended deterrence while enhancing the allies' interoperability and wartime capabilities.
"The South Korea-U.S. alliance is maintaining the highest level of combined defence posture against North Korea's consistent threats to regional stability and will achieve 'peace through strength' based on the allies' robust capabilities and posture while enhancing trust in the U.S. extended deterrence," the defence ministry said in a statement as per the news report.
On Sunday, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) towards the East Sea, Yonhap News Agency reported citing the South Korean military.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from the Tongchang-ri area on the country's west coast at 11:05 am (local time). It said that the missile flew for around 800 kilometres, as per the news report. The JCS condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launches and called it an act of provocation.
"We strongly condemn the North's series of ballistic missile launches as an act of significant provocation that harms peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also in the international community, and a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions," the JCS said in a statement as per the Yonhap news agency report.
It further said that allies will conduct their combined military drills in a "high-intensity" and "thorough" manner while vowing to maintain a firm readiness posture based on capabilities to respond to any North Korean provocations. (ANI)