Two US B-1B bombers along with F-16 fighter jets accompanied South Korean F-15 fighters in an exercise on Friday that included practicing attack capabilities in a show of strength to North days after the regime claimed successful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) tests.
"US bombers and Republic of Korea fighters are just two of many lethal military options at our disposal," Lieutenant General Thomas Bergeson, US Forces Korea deputy commander, said.
"This mission clearly demonstrates the US-ROK alliance remains prepared to use the full range of capabilities to defend and to preserve the security of the Korean Peninsula and region."
When the B-1Bs reached the Korean Peninsula, they were joined by South Korean F-15 fighter jets and US Air Force F-16 fighter jets.
The B-1Bs practiced what officials called "attack capabilities" by releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.
As the bombers returned to Guam, they flew over the East China Sea with F-2 fighter jets of the Koku Jieitai, or Japan Air Self-Defence Force, the statement said.
The Pilsung Range is well inside South Korean territory, but local media reported that the bombers also flew close to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two countries although they did not enter the zone or cross any demarcation lines.
"North Korea's actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland," Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Terrence O’ Shaughnessy said in a statement. "Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces."