U.S.A and North Korea
United States and korea
The US has taken the unprecedented step of publicly announcing that two of its nuclear-capable B-2 bombers have taken part in military exercises with South Korea, dropping dummy munitions on an island range, in what is taken to be a show of force following weeks of North Korean hostility.
The announcement on Thursday is likely to further enrage Pyongyang, which has already issued a flood of ominous statements to highlight its displeasure at the exercises and at UN sanctions over its nuclear test last month.
But there were signs on Thursday that it is willing to go only so far. A North Korean industrial plant operated with South Korean know-how was running normally, despite the north's shutdown a day earlier of communication lines ordinarily used to coordinate the movement of workers and goods across the border.
US Forces Korea said that the B-2 stealth bombers had flown from Missouri. It is unclear whether America's stealth bombers have taken part in past exercises with South Korea, but this is the first time the military has announced their use. The revelation follows an earlier US announcement that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers participated in the joint drills.
North Korea sees the exercises as part of a US plot to invade and becomes particularly upset about US nuclear activities in the region. Washington and Seoul say the drills are routine and defensive.
North Korea has already threatened nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul in recent weeks. It said on Wednesday that there was no need for communication in a situation "where a war may break out at any moment". Earlier this month, it announced that it considers the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 void.