United States bombers drill over Korean peninsula days after latest missile launch

The drills involving four US stealth F-35B jets as well as South Korean and Japanese fighter jets came at the end of annual joint US-South Korea military exercises focused mainly on computer simulations

North Korea says its firing of a missile over Japan was "the first step" of military operations in the Pacific, signalling plans for more launches.

"North Korea's reckless action is an unprecedented, serious and a grave threat to our nation", Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

France's foreign minister said on Friday that North Korea would have capability to send long-range ballistic missiles in a few months and urged China to be more active diplomatically to resolve the crisis.

North Korea has been test-firing missiles at a rapid clip this year.

Japan was pushing the United States to propose new UN Security Council sanctions, which diplomats said could target North Korea's labourers working overseas, oil supply and textile exports.

Pyongyang stated explicitly that Tuesday's launch was a response to the exercises, as well as to mark the anniversary of Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910.

The comment came after Pyongyang elevated the crisis over its growing potential nuclear threat with the test launch of an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japanese territory on Tuesday.

"We're going to ask for transparency and predictability so as to minimise the impact on (our) companies", a Japanese foreign ministry official in charge of European affairs said ahead of May's visit.

Tensions have been running high between North Korea, which is continuing to develop its missile and nuclear programs, and the USA, which is opposed to those programs.

The US ambassador further noted that the missile launch was "absolutely unacceptable and irresponsible", also declaring "enough is enough".

"So I am determined that we will seize the opportunity to become an ever more outward-looking global Britain, deepening our trade relations with old friends and new allies around the world", she said, according to Britain's Press Association.

The launch was also condemned by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and a number of other countries.

Seoul/Tokyo: South Korean and Japanese jets joined exercises with two supersonic US B-1B bombers above and near the Korean peninsula on Thursday, two days after North Korea fired a missile over Japan, sharply raising tension.

After the latest launch, Trump said that "all options" were on the table, reviving his implied threat of pre-emptive USA military action just days after congratulating himself that Kim appeared to be "starting to respect us".

'We would encourage China to do everything it can to bring pressure on North Korea to stop this, 'she added.

Following the North Korean launch, US President Trump said that "all options" were on the table when it comes to dealing with North Korea.

"But if that isn't an option, we are saying we need a transitional period... to mitigate the negative impact", he told AFP.



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