North Korea accused the "gangster-like" United States of staging a "surprise nuclear strike drill," after two bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force ahead of President Trump's visit to Asia.
The B-1B bombers based on the U.S. territory of Guam — which Pyongyang has previously threatened — were escorted by two South Korean F-16 fighter jets during the exercises Thursday near South Korea's eastern coast, a South Korean military official told the Associated Press on Friday.
The drills simulated attacks on land targets, but did not involve live weapons, the official added. North Korea sees the exercises between the two allies as a preparation for war.
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"The gangster-like U.S. imperialists are ceaselessly resorting to their frantic nuclear threat and blackmail to stifle the DPRK with nukes at any cost," the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
"On Thursday they let a formation of B-1B nuclear strategic bombers stationed at the Anderson Air Force Base on Guam stealthily fly into south Korea again to stage a surprise nuclear strike drill targeting the DPRK," it added, using the official name for the reclusive nation.
The KCNA said the bombers flew into the Sangdong firing range "to conduct a nuclear bomb dropping drill simulating attack on major targets of the DPRK."
"The reality clearly shows that the gangster-like U.S. imperialists are the very one who is aggravating the situation of the Korean peninsula and seeking to ignite a nuclear war," it added.
Since July, North Korea has launched missiles over Japan, test-launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test as a war of words erupted between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the North's leader.
Trump's 12-day visit to Asia, which starts Sunday in Japan comes amid increasing tensions with Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile program. The U.S. leader's trip will include stops in South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.