South Korea, US carry out joint military drills with fighter jets, B-52 bomber

Seoul, Jul 13 (EFE).- South Korea and the United States on Thursday carried out joint military exercises in the Korean peninsula that included a B-52H strategic bomber, a day after Pyongyang test-fired an intercontinental missile.

The South Korean defense ministry said in a statement that the exercises “enhanced combined operational capabilities through the swift deployment of the U.S. extended deterrence asset that was coordinated in a timely manner.”

The South Korean military deployed F-15K fighters for the drills, while the US contributed F-16 fighters and at least one B-52H bomber according to the ministry, which did not specify the location of the drills.

The US commitment of “extended deterrence” signifies Washington’s willingness to use all its military capabilities, including nuclear assets, to defend its ally South Korea.

The exercises came on a day when North Korean state media announced that the missile launched by Pyongyang on Wednesday was a Hwasong-18, an intercontinental ballistic missile which is driven by solid fuel and is the regime’s most sophisticated long-range weapon.

The missile flew 1,001 kilometers for 4,491 seconds, achieving a maximum altitude of 6,648 kilometers, according to Pyongyang’s state news agency KCNA, which said that leader Kim Jong-un was present during the launch.

The figures about the launch, the second test of Hwasong-18 by North Korea after an initial one on Apr. 13, coincide with the estimates offered by the Japanese and South Korean military authorities on Wednesday.

As shown in photos released by North Korea’s state daily Rodong Sinmun, the missile was launched from the same site – situated northeast of Pyongyang – which was used for the first launch of Hwasong-18.

The launch came at a time when South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is participating in the NATO summit in Vilna (Lithuania), and after Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong raised tensions in the peninsula this week by accusing US of aerial incursions and threatened Washington with a strong response. EFE


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