On Monday, Pentagon officials confirmed that U.S. B-52 bombers carried out simulated nuclear bombing raids on North Korea.
The war games exercise, known as Exercise Foal Eagle, took place over South Korea on March 8.
“It’s not any secret that we are in the midst of sending a very strong signal that we have a firm commitment to the alliance with our South Korean allies,” said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said such flights are routine.
“I should note the presence of strategic bombers taking place in flight training in the Korea peninsula area in particular, for example, but this is routine. There will be a B-52 flight tomorrow,” said Carter said in Seoul.
Little made a point of noting U.S. strategic nuclear forces in the region, a practice that veteran national security reporter Bill Gertz notes is unusual.
“The B-52 Stratofortress can perform a variety of missions including carrying precision-guided conventional or nuclear ordnance,” said Little. “We will continue to fly these training missions as part of our ongoing actions to enhance our strategic posture in the Asia-Pacific region.”