US Air Force flies B-1 bombers over South Korea, sends message to North Korea

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The US Air Force (USAF) responded to North Korea’s nuclear test with a show of force on Tuesday, flying two of its B-1 bombers over South Korea. The bombers were deployed to Andersen Airbase in Guam in August.

The response came after North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test claiming that it had a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on ballistic missiles, a possibility that increases fears for US allies like South Korea and Japan in the region.

“North Korea’s nuclear test is a dangerous escalation and poses an unacceptable threat,” Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, U.S. Forces Korea commander, said in a statement Tuesday. “The United States has an unshakable commitment to defend allies in the region and will take necessary steps to do so, including operations like this one today.”

The B-1s were joined by USAF F-16s and South Korean F-15 jets in the low-level flyover of Osan Airbase, 40 miles (64 kilometers) off Seoul.

It is the first time the B-1s, have been part of the Pacific bomber force in a decade.