The US military on Saturday launched two supersonic bombers alongside South Korean and Japanese warplanes in response to the latest missile launches from North Korea.
North Korea sparked international outrage on Friday after it tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and capable of reaching anywhere on the US mainland.
The US and its regional allies condemned the move, accusing Pyongyang of trying to destabilize the region as it seeks to gain geopolitical power with its nuclear program and military gains.
NORTH KOREA TEST-FIRES A BALLISTIC MISSILE.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un witnessed the launch of the ICMB with his wife and “beloved daughter” on Friday, seen by some as a sign of his growing confidence in Pyongyang’s ability to acquire a military force as high as the US military.
The United States earlier this month deployed B-1B supersonic bombers in joint exercises over South Korea after North Korea stepped up its missile tests and overt aggression in the region.
NORTH KOREA launches ballistic missile, lands near South Korea: SEOUL
According to a US Air Force statement, the B-1B – which angered Kim over its ability to deliver large payloads of conventional guided and unguided weapons – has been called the “backbone” of the US bomber force.
“It can rapidly deliver large quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any enemy anywhere in the world at any time,” the statement said. It added that its “low radar cross section” would allow the bomber to create an “integrated, robust defense system that supports the penetration of hostile airspace.”
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At Japan’s request, the UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on Monday regarding North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch.
It seems unlikely that the council will do anything to punish Pyongyang amid a blockade earlier this year by China and Russia over efforts to impose further sanctions on North Korea for violating the UN charter by expanding its nuclear and ballistic capabilities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.