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Iran Press TV

US military forces hold joint military exercises with South Korea, Japan

Iran Press TV

Mon Sep 18, 2017 09:38AM

The United States military has carried out several flights over the Korean Peninsula in joint bombing drills with the South amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Four US F-35B stealth fighter jets and two B-1B supersonic bombers took part in the joint drills on Monday.

The fighter jets flew from a US military base in Japan, while the bombers flew from the US Pacific island of Guam, joined by six South Korean fighter jets in the drill, a South Korean Defense Ministry official was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.

The US said it conducted the new military exercise with the South in response to the North's recent missile and nuclear tests, said the source.

The American and South Korean forces carried out a "mock bombing exercise over the sky of Korea" on Monday, the source added.

After the drills, the F-35B jets and B-1B bombers returned to their bases in Japan and Guam respectively.

The flights were the first since Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and staged an intermediate-range missile test over Japan last Friday. The previous such flights were on August 31.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone and agreed to exert "stronger pressure" on the North.

Trump has repeatedly threatened that the military option is on the table regarding North Korea, warning Pyongyang that it would be destroyed if it refused to do as it was told.

Pyongyang believes it could be invaded by hostile forces, notably the US, if its military power to defend itself diminishes.

The North wants its neighbor to end its military drills with the US, saying such joint exercises are rehearsals for a war against North Korea.

US-Japan military drill

In another development on Monday, the US's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) held urban warfare and frontline rescue drills near the foot of Mount Fuji.

The so-called Orient Shield 17 drills, which are part of an annual two-week exercise, were held with around 1,200 soldiers taking part.

The drills kicked off on September 8 and are scheduled to end on the 25th.

The US military has tens of thousands of combat forces based in Japan and South Korea.

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