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US deploys bombers in response to North Korea missile tests

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The US deployed supersonic bombers and fighter jets in response to recent missile tests carried out by North Korea.

The B-1B bombers conducted joint aerial drills on Saturday with other South Korean and US warplanes, according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff.

It said the drills demonstrated an “iron-clad” US security commitment to South Korea and the allies’ combined defence posture.

North Korea drew widespread international condemnation on Friday after it test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable (ICBM) of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and with a range that could reach anywhere on the US mainland.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched the test with his daughter – the first time she had been seen in public – and boasted the ICBM was a “reliable and maximum-capacity” weapon to contain US military threats.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, along with his daughter, inspects an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released on November 19, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.
Image:
Kim Jong-un, along with his daughter, inspected the intercontinental ballistic missile
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, along with his daughter, walks away from an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released on November 19, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.

State media photos showed Mr Kim walking hand-in-hand with the girl, and together watching a huge missile loaded on a launch truck.

Friday’s launch was part of the North’s ongoing barrage of missile tests that are seen as an attempt to expand its weapons arsenal.

‘All-out confrontation’

Some foreign experts said the Hwasong-17 missile is still under development, but is the North’s longest-range ballistic weapon designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat US missile defence systems.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the missile fired from Pyongyang International Airport travelled up to a maximum altitude of about 6,040 kilometres (3,750 miles) and flew a distance of about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) before it landed in international waters off the country’s east coast.

“The test-fire clearly proved the reliability of the new major strategic weapon system to be representative of (North Korea’s) strategic forces and its powerful combat performance as the strongest strategic weapon in the world,” KCNA said.

“Kim Jong Un solemnly declared that if the enemies continue to pose threats to [North Korea], frequently introducing nuclear strike means, our party and government will resolutely react to nukes with nuclear weapons and to total confrontation with all-out confrontation,” KCNA said.

Mr Kim’s statement suggests North Korea will continue its weapons testing activities as the US continues to bolster its security commitment to its allies South Korea and Japan.

There are concerns North Korea could conduct its first nuclear test within five years.

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