US flies bombers over S.Korea in show of force against North

Two U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers flew over South Korean airspace today to reinforce the U.S. commitment to its regional ally after North Korea's latest nuclear test. Such flyovers are fairly common when animosity rises on the Korean Peninsula.

"U.S. and South Korean fighter jets escorted the bombers in their low-altitude flight over South Korea's Osan Air Base. about an hour from the border between North and South Korea", NPR's Elise Hu reports.

Instead, Seoul relies on the U.S.

The B-1B doesn't now carry nuclear weapons under a disarmament treaty. It remains to be seen what impact the presence of the two bombers in South Korea will have and how North Korea will respond to this situation.

"North Korea continues to blatantly violate its global obligations, threatening the region through an accelerating program of nuclear tests and unprecedented ballistic missile launches that no nation should tolerate". Pyongyang's claim to have used "standardized" warheads in the detonation makes some outsiders worry that it is making headway in its push to develop small, sophisticated warheads that can be mounted on missiles that can reach the USA mainland. He said that more troubling was the recent test successes may give Pyongyang a false sense of confidence.

"Left unchecked, Pyongyang will likely develop the capability to reach the continental United States with a nuclear tipped missile in a decade or so", Siegfried wrote on the North Korea-focused website 38 North.

"These flights demonstrate the solidarity between South Korea, the United States and Japan to defend against North Korea's provocative and destabilizing actions", said Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, in a press release.

On Friday morning local time, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test - the second such test this year.

Speaking in Seoul, the U.S. envoy on North Korea Sung Kim, said that our intention is to secure the strongest possible resolution that includes new sanctions as quickly as possible. South Korea also demanded new sanctions against North Korea in order to discourage the continuation of the nuclear program. North Korea's response to these flights was immediate; the KCNA official #News agency said that the public is very upset and "exploded like a volcano" against the Washington decision to send bombers to South Korea.

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