US bombers fly over Korean Peninsula 'in direct response' to North Korea's missile test

The Japanese and South Korean air forces took part in the mission.

— -- The U.S. flew two bombers over the Korean Peninsula Saturday in a show of force "in direct response" to North Korea's announcement that it conducted on Friday another test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said.

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, under the command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined their South Korean and Japanese air force counterparts in a sequenced bilateral mission, according to a press release.

"This mission is in direct response to North Korea's escalatory launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles on July 3 and July 28," the press release explained of the 10-hour mission.

Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, said in a statement, "North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability. Diplomacy remains the lead; however, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing."

After taking off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the bombers flew to Japanese airspace, where they were joined by two Japanese F-2 fighter jets. The B-1s then flew over the Korean Peninsula where they were joined by four South Korean F-15 fighter jets. The B-1s then performed a low-pass over the Osan Air Base near Seoul, before leaving South Korean airspace and returning to Guam.

The Pacific Air Forces said "the aircrews practiced intercept and formation training, enabling them to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also strengthening the long standing military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."