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U.S. Sends Supersonic Bombers Over South Korea

Two B-1B aircraft flew over the Korean Peninsula after taking off from a U.S. base on the Pacific island of Guam. (illustrative file photo)

U.S. supersonic bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula as part of an exercise with Japanese and South Korean allies, the U.S. Air Force said ahead of a visit to the region by President Donald Trump.

Two B-1B aircraft took off from a U.S. base on the Pacific island of Guam, and were joined by Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighters, the U.S. Pacific Air Force said in a November 2 statement.

The exercise was part of the "continuous bomber presence" mission in the Pacific and "was not in response to any current event," the statement said.

The flights angered North Korea, which condemned the drill as "blackmail" early on November 3.

Tensions are high over North Korea's ballistic missile and atomic programs, which in recent months have seen it test intercontinental ballistic missiles and carry out its sixth nuclear blast.

Trump arrives in Hawaii on November 3 and is setting off on an Asian tour on November 4 that will include visits to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

North Korea in July launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles apparently capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

The North followed up with two missiles that flew over Japan, and a sixth nuclear test, by far its most powerful so far.

Trump has warned of "fire and fury" in response to Pyongyang's threats.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP