US bombers overfly Korea to show force
The Unites States has flown two supersonic heavy bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force against Pyongyang, staging the first night-time joint aviation exercises with Japan and South Korea.
Two B-1B Lancers based in Guam flew a mission in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan late Oct. 10, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.
South Korean defence authorities yesterday said the bombers staged a simulated air-to-ground missile firing drill with two South Korean fighters over the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
The four aircraft then flew across the peninsula and staged another round of a firing exercise over the Yellow Sea before the two B-IBs returned home, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
"Through the practice this time, South Korean and U.S. air forces showed off the allies' resolve for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats," the JCS said in a statement.
In addition, a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Oct. 10, three U.S. officials told Reuters.
The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters. But it was not as provocative as previous ones carried out since Trump took office in January.
The officials said the Chafee, a guided-missile destroyer, carried out normal maneuvering operations that challenged “excessive maritime claims” near the Paracel Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had lodged “stern representations” with the U.S., and reiterated that the Paracels were Chinese territory.
“China immediately sent naval vessels and military jets to investigate and identify, as well as warn to the vessel and ask it to leave,” she told a daily news briefing yesterday.