Home » News » News Roundup » New Roundup » World News » US bomber flights push region to ‘brink of war’

US bomber flights push region to ‘brink of war’

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea accused the United States on Tuesday of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war after a pair of strategic US bombers flew training drills with the South Korean and Japanese air forces in another show of strength.

The two supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers were deployed amid rising tensions over North Korea’s dogged pursuit of its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of United Nations sanctions and pressure from the United States.

The flight of the two bombers on Monday came as US President Donald Trump said he was open to meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the appropriate circumstances, even though Pyongyang suggested it would continue with its nuclear tests.

South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a briefing in Seoul that Monday’s joint drill was conducted to deter provocations by the North and to test readiness against another potential nuclear test.

The US air force said in a statement the bombers had flown from Guam to conduct training exercises with the South Korean and Japanese air forces.

North Korea said the bombers conducted “a nuclear bomb dropping drill against major objects” in its territory at a time when Trump and “other US warmongers are crying out for making a preemptive nuclear strike” on the North.

“The reckless military provocation is pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war,” the North’s official KCNA news agency said on Tuesday.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high for weeks, driven by concerns that the North might conduct its sixth nuclear test in defiance of pressure from the United States and Pyongyang’s sole major ally, China.

China’s Global Times, a state-backed tabloid that does not necessarily reflect national policy, said in an editorial late on Monday the United States should not rely on China alone to pressure Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear ambitions.

April could prove a “turning point”, the paper said, but “Washington … must also continue to exert its own efforts on the issue”.

It was widely feared North Korea could conduct its sixth nuclear test on or around April 15 to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the North’s founding leader, Kim Il Sung, or on April 25 to coincide with the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People’s Army.

comments