Two US strategic B-1B bombers conducted drills over South Korea on Thursday, the US Air Force said, days before President Donald Trump arrives in the country amid high tensions with North Korea over its nuclear weapon programme.
News of the drills was first reported by North Korean state news agency KCNA on Friday, which said the exercises involving South Korean and Japanese fighter jets were a “surprise nuclear strike drill”.
“The reality clearly shows that the gangster-like US imperialists are the very one who is aggravating the situation of the Korean peninsula and seeking to ignite a nuclear war,” KCNA said.
Trump arrives in Asia on Sunday, beginning his first trip to the region as president in Japan before heading to South Korea and China, then Vietnam and the Philippines.
A series of missile tests by North Korea and its sixth and largest nuclear test have fuelled the most critical international challenge of Trump’s presidency.
The goal of Trump’s visit will be to increase international support for efforts to deprive North Korea of resources as leverage to coerce it to give up nuclear weapons, US officials said.