US, South Korea, China and Russia stage military drills near the North

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BEIJING/SEOUL: The United States military staged bombing drills with South Korea over the Korean peninsula, while China and Russia began naval exercises ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting tomorrow where North Korea's nuclear threat is likely to loom large. The flurry of military drills came after Pyongyang fired another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday.

The North had earlier conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept 3 in defiance of UN sanctions.

In the latest drill, a pair of US B-1B bombers and four F-35 jets flew from Guam and Japan and joined four South Korean F-15K fighters, South Korea's Defence Ministry said.

The joint drills were being conducted "two to three times a month these days", Defence Minister Song Young Moo told a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

In Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said China and Russia began naval drills off the Russian far eastern port of Vladivostok, not far from the Russia-North Korea border. - REUTERS

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