US deploys bombers in response to N. Korean missile launch
Tokyo: The US on Sunday deployed B-1B strategic bombers near the Korean peninsula in response to the latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by Pyongyang, the Japanese Defence Ministry announced.
The exercises involved two US bombers along with Japan's Mitsubishi F-2 fighters, Defence Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference.
This is not the first time the Pentagon has deployed these bombers, stationed at the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, in a show of its military might in response to what it considers provocations by North Korea.
The B-1B bombers were also deployed over the Korean peninsula after the Kim Jong-un regime conducted its first ICBM launch on July 4 and when it fired a short-range missile in May.
Washington also deployed the bombers on June 20, following the announcement of the death of American student Otto Warmbier.
Warmbier passed away after being returned to the US in a comatose state by North Korea, which had held him for 17 months.
The latest deployment of the US bombers is aimed at responding to North Korea's second successful ICBM launch on Friday.
The Hwasong-14 missile flew 998 km for about 47 minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 3,724.9 km before falling into the Sea of Japan.
North Korea called the launch a success and asserted that it could strike any part of the US with the missile.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the country will not allow China to continue "doing nothing" to resolve the North Korean issue.
"I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet," Trump tweeted.
"...they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!" he said in another tweet.
Following the North Korean launch on Friday, Trump said he will take all steps needed to protect the US and its allies in the region.
North Korea's continued missile tests have escalated tensions in the Korean peninsula and led to tough rhetoric by the US, which has also hinted at the possibility of preemptive strikes against the country.