Credit South Korean Defense Ministry, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
SEOUL, South Korea — The United States and South Korea wrapped up their annual joint military exercises on Thursday by flying some of their most powerful warplanes in bombing drills in a show of force two days after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan.
Two B-1B supersonic bombers and four F-35 stealth fighter jets from the United States Air Force joined four South Korean F-15 fighter jets in live-fire bombing exercises over a military range in eastern South Korea, officials said.
South Korean F-15s conducted a similar bombing drill over the same range on Tuesday, hours after a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile from North Korea flew over northern Japan and splashed into the Pacific after a flight of nearly 1,700 miles.
North Korea’s test on Tuesday marked the first time that a missile from the North has flown over another country. Its leader, Kim Jong-un, said on Wednesday that the test could be a “curtain raiser” for more such tests in the Pacific. The missile test rattled a region increasingly concerned about North Korea’s fast-advancing missile capabilities and its increasingly bold way of demonstrating them.
Mr. Kim said that he would watch the United States’ actions before deciding whether to conduct more missile tests, including in waters around Guam, an American territory that is home to Andersen Air Force Base, from which the B-1B Lancer bombers participating in the drills on Thursday took off. The F-35 jets flew from an American base in Iwakuni, Japan.
Hours after Mr. Kim’s warning, the United States conducted what it called a previously planned missile-defense test, intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile fired from a Navy guided-missile destroyer off the coast of Hawaii.