North Korea said the United States deployed a supersonic bomber five times in the month of March.
Pyongyang’s state-controlled news agency KCNA said Saturday, local time, “From March 15 to 30, the B-1B nuclear strategic bomber was deployed from its location in Guam, flying with planes in formation five times, up to 9 aircraft at a time, then rampaging through South Korea airspace, while engaging in bomb-drop training that would target our major buildings.”
The United States did deploy at least four B-1B Lancers across two separate training events, according to South Korean press reports.
The long-range, multi-mission conventional bombers participated in the joint annual exercises Foal Eagle.
Earlier in March, South Korea’s defense ministry, citing national security, neither denied nor confirmed earlier statements from North Korea charging the United States with bomber deployment in training.
The supersonic bomber is cause for concern in North Korea, as it is capable of reaching the Korean peninsula from its station in Guam within 2 hours.
The B-1B bomber has a Mach 1.25 speed capability at high altitude.
However, unlike the B-52 or B-2 bombers, the B-1B Lancer is not a stealth aircraft and would not transport nuclear weapons.
KCNA also denounced the deployment of the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, and claimed the U.S. military deployed the nuclear-powered submarine USS Columbus, and F-35B stealth fighters to the peninsula.
“At present, the Korean peninsula is falling further into a crisis of impending nuclear war,” KCNA stated. “If war-crazy U.S. imperialists jump about while engaging in reckless preemptive strikes despite our repeated warnings, they will lose in a catastrophic aftermath.”
Pyongyang did not mention how its own provocations have raised tensions in the region.
Experts have said North Korea may be preparing for its next nuclear test, and the country is expected to celebrate a number of significant anniversaries: the 105th anniversary of founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, and the fifth anniversary of Kim Jong Un‘s appointment as the first secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party on April 11, according to Yonhap news agency.
By: Elizabeth Shim