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US Supersonic B-1B Bombers Buzz North Korea, Practice Strike

US Air Force B-1B bombers flew over South Korean airspace along with South Korean and Japanese aircraft Thursday, ahead of US President Donald Trump's trip to East Asia.

"The frenzied US scheme of threats and blackmail, which aims to crush our republic with nuclear [weapons], continues in November as it did in October," the Korea Central News Agency reported November 3, announcing the exercise.

The US Air Force confirmed the flyby but insisted the practice bombing mission was part of routine operations and was not in response to any particular event. "The bilateral continuous bomber presence mission was planned in advance," a USAF statement issued Thursday reads, "and was not in response to any current event." More details were offered later by Air Force spokeswoman Captain Victoria Hight, who said the bombers had flown over South Korea's Pilsung Range, an air force training range used by the US and South Korea.

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers fly a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, escorted by a Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighter jet into Japanese airspace and then over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017 - Sputnik International
US F-35s, B-1B Lancers Conduct Flybys to Show ‘Military Options' to Pyongyang

The B-1B bombers are, it should be noted, not armed with nuclear weapons and cannot be armed with nuclear weapons. "Every year, 10 Russian officials travel to either the Ellsworth or Dyess global strike air bases in the United States to review the fastest bomber in the Air Force's arsenal: the B-1B Lancer," Military.com reported in July. This is done to ensure compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, "which specifies the once-nuclear bomber remains disarmed of nukes." 

On October 21, a pair of Lancers conducted a flyover during the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition.

"The US may make frantic last-minute efforts to block our powerful advances by shoving nuclear strategic assets at us, but our army and people are not ones to be startled," KCNA said in response to the latest drill. 

An anti-Trump leaflet believed to come from North Korea by balloon is pictured in this undated handout photo released by NK News on October 16, 2017. The texts in Korean read Mad dog Trump (top), 'Will kill 25,000,000 people in North Korea (top R), the text on the bomb reads Destroy North Korea completely, the two comments at right read: He is crazy and The war will break out if we leave him (bottom). - Sputnik International
North Korea Calls Trump ‘Mentally Deranged’ and a ‘Nuclear War Maniac’

While the Lancer is not nuclear-armed, in early October the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine the USS Michigan was "shoved" into Pyongyang's backyard, and that vessel is equipped with nuclear weapons. 

The US has continued to call for de-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, but Pyongyang has scoffed at the suggestion. It has also continued military exercises that Pyongyang considers provocative on its own and with allies Japan and South Korea. 

"We encourage North Korea and the United States to carry out engagement and dialogue," Chinese Foreign Minister Hua Chunying said Wednesday. 

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