On Sunday, the North Korean state run media printed its sharpest criticism of the U.S. in recent months. Saturday’s practice bombing run along the border between North and South Korea was called a “dangerous move raising the risk of nuclear war.” In a commentary in today’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the official mouth organ of the ruling party, they accused the U.S. of “reckless military provocations.”
The charges came following bombing runs of two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers where they dropped inert, 1000 pound weapons on Saturday in a training session in South Korea. So that there would be no doubt as to the North Korean governments displeasure at he actions, Sunday’s comments were also reported in English by the Korean Central News Agency, the official government organ. The agency repeated that the recent drill increased the threat of a nuclear war between the two “powers”.
The drill on Saturday was meant to be a show of force for the rogue dictator Kim Jong-un, and came just days after North Korea conducted the first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit Alaska. It also came following comments by President Trump to China’s leader XI, that “the nuclear threat from North Korea would be dealt with one way or another”
To conduct the display of force, the pentagon dispactched two B-1 bombers from Anderson Air Force Base located in Guam. The aircraft flew 2,000 miles where they linked up with South Korean fighter jets who provided cover during the precision strike training exercise. The bombers were also joined by Japanese fighters during their flight.
The Air Force, in a statement, called the mission a “demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies.” The bombers, which can carry 84 500-pound bombs at a time, released inert weapons at the Pilsung Range. The mission took 10 hours, according to the statement.
“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland,” Gen. Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, the Pacific Air Forces commander, said. “Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces.”
As tensions have heightened with North Korea, the U.S. has also scheduled a flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), an element of the nation’s ballistic missile defense system. The THAAD system is currently being installed in South Korea in response to the growing threat of Kim Jong-un. This test, which will be conducted by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), is scheduled to take place later this month.