U.S. To deploy B-1B strategic bomber to U.S.-South Korea drill: News Agency

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The U.S. Air Force plans to deploy B-1B strategic bombers in U.S.-South Korea military exercises on Saturday, reports major South Korean news agency Yonhap News. This is after North Korea fired a barrage of weapons tests in recent days to protest allied military drills.

Seoul and Washington have been holding “Vigilant Storm” air drills since Monday, which were extended by a day to Saturday in response to what the allies call continued provocations by North Korea.

This is the first the B-1B has been deployed in U.S.-South Korean drills since 2017, Yonhap says. According to the news agency the United States has kept four of the bombers in Guam since late October.

South Korea has asked the United States to step up deployment of “strategic assets”, which include aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and long-range bombers like theB-1B.

US and South Korean authorities did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Thursday US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Washington had talks with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup during Security Consultative Meeting which brings together the defense leaders of the two nations to discuss challenges and opportunities and to develop strategies to deepen cooperation and friendship. At the meeting Austin said the United States had agreed to employ US strategic assets to the level equivalent to constant deployment through increasing the frequency and intensity of strategic asset deployment in and around the Korean Peninsula.

The USA and South Korean signed the U.S.-South Korean Mutual Defense Treaty 1953 after South Korea had been devastated by the Korean War.