Korean lawmaker says N. Korea hacked war plans

(Korean Central News Agency) In this handout photo released by the South Korean Defense Ministry, South Korea's Hyunmu-2 ballistic missile is fired during an exercise aimed to counter North Korea's nuclear test on September 4, 2017 in East Coast, South Korea. The US said Japan's Air Force also took part in the drill.

A South Korean presidential official said Tuesday's operation was part of a recently agreed upon rotational deployment of US military assets to the peninsula, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

Let's start with Washington's latest show of force against North Korea The U.S. flew two B-1B strategic bombers over the Korean Peninsula late Tuesday.

Reuters reported that the United States military said in a separate statement it conducted drills with Japanese fighters after the exercise with South Korea, making it the first time U.S. bombers have conducted training with fighters from both Japan and South Korea at night.

According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff in a statement on Wednesday, the two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers were joined by two F-15K fighters from the South Korean military after leaving their base in Guam.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have intensified in recent months as the Trump administration has struggled to rein in Kim Jong-un's expanding nuclear and ballistic weapons programme.

But neither side is budging in the standoff.

The South has taken an increasingly aggressive stance toward the North's belligerence amid back-and-forth threats of war between North Korea and President Donald Trump.

While US Secretary of Defense James Mattis reiterated this week that diplomacy along with worldwide economic sanctions would remain the leading element of US strategy towards blunting North Korea, military options were being prepared.

Guam, from where the B-1 bombers in Tuesday drills departed, has been a particular target of North Korean threats.

Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam will hold a strategic dialogue with US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan in Seoul on October 18, according to the ministry.

A follow-up statement from KCNA promised future launches "targeting the Pacific, where the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces' bases are stationed".

The F-15 escorts are notable "because combined operations require consent from South Korea, so this does not represent USA unilateral action", according to Pinkston.

During an address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Mr Trump declared that the USA would "totally destroy North Korea" if forced to defend itself or its allies.

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