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American Bombers Remind Kim Jong Un The US Can Respond With ‘Rapid, Lethal, And Overwhelming Force’

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The U.S. and its allies responded to North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test with a show of force Sunday.

Two B-1B Lancers, heavily-armed conventional bombers, conducted sequenced drills with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force and the South Korean Air Force Sunday, according to U.S. Pacific Air Forces. “This mission is in direct response to North Korea’s escalatory launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles on July 3 and July 28,” the corresponding statement read.

After departing Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the bombers joined up with two Koku Jieitai F-2 fighter jets. The U.S. aircraft then flew over the Korean Peninsula, where they were accompanied by four South Korean Air Force F-15 fighters. The bombers made a low pass over Osan Air Base before returning home.

North Korea has conducted two successful ICBM tests, one earlier this month and a second one Friday. In its latest test, North Korea revealed a missile that expert observers claim could deliver a substantial nuclear payload to major cities across the U.S.

A few hours after the most recent test, American and South Korean military personnel conducted a joint precision-strike drill, during which they fired off their own missiles in a show of force. The purpose, as is the case with the B-1B bomber flybys, is to remind Kim Jong Un that the U.S. and its allies have military superiority in all areas.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, said in a statement. “Diplomacy remains the lead; however, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”

The U.S. has flown bombers over the peninsula after most major North Korean provocations, and joint precision-strike drills with South Korea appear to be a new norm for ICBM tests. These actions along with sanctions and diplomacy have so far failed to deter North Korea, which is advancing its weapons program at an accelerate rate. The U.S. and its allies, however, remain hesitant to apply military force, recognizing that a renewed conflict on the peninsula would likely result in countless deaths.

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