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US bombers, Korean & Japanese jets fly mission after N Korea's ICBM test

South Korea said the test prompted it to speed up deployment of a US missile defense system

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

North Korea ICBM launch
This Friday, July 28, 2017, photo distributed by the North Korean government on Saturday, July 29, 2017, shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea. Photo: AP/PTI

US strategic bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in a pointed show of force in response to Pyongyang's latest intercontinental ballistic missile, American officials said on Sunday.

US B-1B bombers along with fighter jets from the South Korean and Japanese air forces participated in the 10-hour bilateral mission, practicing intercept and formation drills.

The maneuver followed Pyongyang's second ICBM test this month late Friday, with Kim Jong-Un saying the move demonstrated the country's ability to strike any target in the United States.

"North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability," said General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, in a statement.

"If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing."

In a standard response to the test, Beijing urged restraint by all sides, after the US and South Korea conducted a live-fire exercise using surface-to-surface missiles.

Weapons experts said the altitude and flight time of Friday's missile suggested it was significantly more powerful than the earlier July 4 test, with a theoretical range of around 10,000 kilometers meaning it might be able to reach east coast US cities like New York, depending on the payload size.

South Korea said the test prompted it to speed up deployment of a US missile defense system, despite consistent protests from China that the program would destabilize the region.

First Published: Sun, July 30 2017. 12:45 IST