US supersonic bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula as part of an exercise with Japanese and South Korean allies, the USAF said ahead of a visit to the region by President Donald Trump.
Two B-1B aircraft took off from a US base on the Pacific island of Guam, and were joined by Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighters, the US Pacific Air Force said in a Nov. 2 statement.
The exercise was part of the "continuous bomber presence" mission in the Pacific and "was not in response to any current event," the statement said.
F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters fly alongside 2 B-1B Lancers. Photo by Japan Air Self-Defense Force
The flights angered North Korea, which condemned the drill as "blackmail" early on Nov. 3.
Tensions are high over North Korea's ballistic missile and atomic programs, which in recent months have seen it test intercontinental ballistic missiles and carry out its sixth nuclear blast.
Trump arrives in Hawaii on Nov. 3 and is setting off on an Asian tour on Nov. 4 that will include visits to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
North Korea in July launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles apparently capable of reaching the US mainland.
The North followed up with two missiles that flew over Japan, and a sixth nuclear test, by far its most powerful so far.
Trump has warned of "fire and fury" in response to Pyongyang's threats.