Two B-1B Lancers stage drills on western coast of Korean peninsula

Two B-1B Lancers stage drills on western coast of Korean peninsula

"The ones that will suffer the most are ordinary people", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. "It is a trite method employed by aggressors to mount a sudden preemptive attack while pretending to conduct war drills", the article said.

"Series of violent war remarks coming from the USA high-level politicians amid such circumstances have made an outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula an established fact", the spokesperson said.

North Korea said that further escalation through joint drills "will only invite more awful retaliation and precipitate their self-destruction".

The JCS said that the war games demonstrated the strong will and capability for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, Yonhap reported.

That prompted North Korea's Foreign Minister, Mr Ri Yong Ho, to warn that the North could shoot down the U.S. bombers even if they did not enter North Korean airspace.

One B-1B strategic bomber was deployed on the Korean peninsula to carry out the U.S Pacific Command's "Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) mission", U.S. Air Force confirmed to NK News, adding that the drill was not part of Vigilant Ace 18. The U.N. did not offer detail as to the subject of the talks, but Feltman is expected to also meet foreign minister Ri and U.N. staff based in the country, the Associated Press reported. The Pentagon has mounted repeated shows of force after North Korean tests.

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The F-22 Raptor is capable of striking major facilities in the North without detection.

The flights by the B-1B, one of the US' largest strike aircraft, have played a leading role in Washington's attempts to increase pressure on North Korea to abandon its weapons programmes.

And now more than ever, both sides are deterred from conflict.

On Wednesday, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, raised doubts about USA participation in the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea in February, telling Fox News that Washington was concerned about its citizens.

The rising tensions coincide with a rare visit to the isolated North by the UN's political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman this week, the highest-level United Nations official to visit North Korea since 2012.

"Through the drill, the South Korean and U.S. air forces displayed the allies' strong intent and ability to punish North Korea when threatened by nuclear weapons and missiles", the South Korean military said in a statement.

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