North Korea accused the United States on Tuesday of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war after a pair of strategic U.S. bombers flew training drills with the South Korean and Japanese air forces in another show of strength.
The two supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers were deployed amid rising tensions over North Korea’s dogged pursuit of its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of United Nations sanctions and pressure from the United States.
The flight of the two bombers on Monday came as U.S. President Donald Trump said he was open to meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the right circumstances, and as his CIA director landed in South Korea for talks.
South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a briefing in Seoul that Monday’s joint drill was conducted to deter provocations by the North and to test readiness against another potential nuclear test.
The U.S. air force said in a statement the bombers had flown from Guam to conduct training exercises with the South Korean and Japanese air forces.
North Korea said the bombers conducted “a nuclear bomb dropping drill against major objects” in its territory at a time when Trump and “other U.S. warmongers are crying out for making a preemptive nuclear strike” on the North.
“The reckless military provocation is pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war,” the North’s official KCNA news agency said on Tuesday.