Both the United States and Russia sent nuclear-capable bombers on a mission near North Korea as tensions mount over dictator Kim Jong Un’s threats.
A U.S. B-2 stealth bomber flew from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Pacific area over the weekend, according to The U.K. Sun.
U.S. Strategic Command said in a statement the long-range mission was carried out to “familiarize aircrew with air bases and operations in different geographic combatant commands, enabling them to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency.”
The mission came just prior to President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia, assuring Japan and South Korea that the U.S. its committed to helping its allies defend itself against any threats from North Korea.
The statement referred to the mission as “a visible demonstration of commitment to our allies and enhancing regional security.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said both U.S. and Japanese fighter jets accompanied Russia’s missile-carrying bombers during flights over the Pacific.
“Two strategic bombers Tupolev-95MS of Russia’s Aerospace Force have carried out routine flights over international waters of the Sea of Japan and the western part of the Pacific Ocean,” a Russia spokesman said, according to The Sun.
“It means we hope that the U.S. will expand its missions on the Korean Peninsula without any concerns over issues of maintenance, fuel supplies and so forth,” an unidentified source told the South Korean Yonhap News Agency.
On Saturday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said North Korea’s continued commitment to launch a nuclear-capable missile has brought “a new urgency” to military and diplomatic efforts with South Korea.
“North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs,” Mattis said, as reported by CNN.
“I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power,” he added.
Trump has vowed that the U.S. will protect itself and its allies at all costs following several provocative tests and countless threats from the North Korean regime.
In September, Trump said the possibility of using military action against North Korea was not off the table.
“Military action would certainly be an option,” Trump said. “It would be great if something else could be worked out.”
Trump suggested that the U.S. didn’t want to use military force, but indicated the aggressive behavior from North Korea would not be tolerated for much longer.
“Each day, new equipment is delivered; new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world — the best anywhere in the world, by far,” Trump said, referring to the power of the U.S. military.