U.S. bomber joins drills as United Nations official arrives in North Korea

U.S. bomber joins drills as United Nations official arrives in North Korea

The drill comes a day after one B-1B supersonic bomber staged a simulated bombing exercise with two F-22 Raptors and four F-35A and F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter jets on the east coast.

"Through the exercise, the South Korean and US air forces have demonstrated the alliance's strong will and capability for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats", the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The United States and South Korea began the largest-ever Vigilant ACE drills on Monday, mobilizing 230 aircraft and 12,000 personnel.

North Korea condemned the exercises, planned before Pyongyang tested a new, more powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a launch on November 29, as pushing the peninsula "to the brink of nuclear war". "It is a trite method employed by aggressors to mount a sudden preemptive attack while pretending to conduct war drills", the article said.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on a TV screen in Seoul, South Korea.

The most recent drills included U.S. warplanes, including nuclear-capable bombers, running practice drills near the North Korean frontier. "The ones that will suffer the most are ordinary people", said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in a statement. "When we overcome this ongoing crisis, I am sure it will turn into an opportunity to dramatically improve the South-North relations", he added. "The outbreak of war is not in any side's interest".

Russia also has communication channels open with North Korea and is ready to exert its influence on the country, the RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov as saying on Tuesday.

The military exercises, called "Vigilant Ace", are created to enhance joint readiness and operational capability of U.S. extended deterrence, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

Yang Uk, a senior fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum, said B-1Bs would be key to any strike targeting major North Korean facilities.

The weekend saw both White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of SC say chances of war with Pyongyang were growing.

That was "the remaining question" the regime had after the United States and South Korea conducted a joint military exercise on the peninsula. Feltman held talks with deputy foreign minister Pak Myong Gun on Wednesday.

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