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US flies bombers over Korean peninsula after North Korea's missile test

SEOUL: The US flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force yesterday after Pyongyang's recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the US and South Korean air forces said.

North Korea said it conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday that proved its ability to strike the US mainland, drawing a sharp warning from US President Donald Trump.

The B-1B flight was in direct response to the missile test and the July 3 launch of the Hwasong-14 rocket, the US statement said.

The South Korean air force said the flight was conducted early yesterday.

The bombers took off from a US air base in Guam and were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets, according to the statement.

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

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

The US has in the past used overflights of the supersonic B1-B Lancer bomber as a show of force in response to North Korean missile or nuclear tests.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally supervised the midnight test launch of the missile on Friday night and said it was a "stern warning" for the US that it would not be safe from destruction if it tries to attack, North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.

China said it opposed North Korea's missile launches.

"At the same time, China hopes all parties act with caution, to prevent tensions from continuing to escalate," China's foreign ministry said.

North Korea said yesterday it had been forced to develop long-range missiles and nuclear weapons because of hostile intent by "American imperialist beasts" looking for another chance to invade the country. - REUTERS

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