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Former US Defense Secretary expresses concern about Trump's NK tweets

Former US Defense Secretary expresses concern about Trump's NK tweets

On the same day as Trump's meeting with military leaders, the U.S. Air Force flew two B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force, after North Korea had threatened to shoot down U.S. bombers conducting such tests.

The United States has flown two supersonic heavy bombers over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against Pyongyang, staging the first nighttime joint aviation exercises with Japan and South Korea.

North Korea watchers have been on alert for a possible provocation by the communist state in the days surrounding a key holiday Tuesday to mark the founding anniversary of its ruling party.

A spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry said last month that the more sanctions the USA and its allies impose on North Korea, the faster the nation will work to develop its nuclear weapons programme, according to North Korea's official KCNA news agency.

"North Korean actions are illegal, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions and Australia will play our part in supporting South Korea and allies in deterring North Korea from further provocative acts and compelling it to return to the negotiating table", Bishop noted.

Tensions have soared between the United States and North Korea following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Pacific Air Force said the bombers, assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, also trained with Japanese fighter jets on Tuesday, "making this the first time" the Lancers have conducted combined training with the allied nations at night.

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The Air Force said Tuesday's overflight demonstrated how USA military forces "are always ready to defend the American homeland and how the US stands resolutely with Japan and [South Korea] to honor their unshakeable alliance commitments to safeguard security and stability".

In a surprising sign of weakness, the commentary also says that if North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would join the United States in the Korean Peninsula it would "change the balance of forces" against it.

Australia's foreign and defense ministers visited the heavily fortified inter-Korean border Thursday and emphasized the need to inflict "maximum diplomatic pressure" to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambition.

Outside governments and global human rights organizations say Kim rules as a tyrant over a largely malnourished and abused population while enjoying a luxurious lifestyle backed up by a weapons program almost advanced enough to viably target the USA mainland with nuclear-tipped missiles.

Seoul says North Korea has repeatedly staged cyberattacks on South Korean business and government websites.

The North's official media touted the party's byungjin policy - which pushes for simultaneous development of nuclear weapons and the economy - and added that military power was "the guarantee for victory". North Korea needs time and proof to believe that abandoning its nuclear programme will contribute to its own political and economic advantage.

A spokesman for the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said its military was closely monitoring the movements of the North Korean army and maintaining full readiness.