The United States said it is deploying three long-range stealth bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons for exercises in Asia, as tensions mount on the Korean peninsula.
“Recent events demonstrate the continued need to provide consistent and credible air power throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said General Lori J. Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander.
The planes — US military officials refused to say precisely where they would be deployed — are B-2 Spirit bombers and the US Air Force only has around 20 of them.
It came as North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its eastern coast, stirring the pot after its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
Short-range missile launches are a regular and relatively low-level item on North Korea’s long list of provocative gestures.
The North fired six high-caliber rockets into the sea a week ago in protest at the adoption of tough, new sanctions on Pyongyang by the UN Security Council.
Those sanctions were imposed as a direct result of the North’s fourth nuclear test in January and last month’s space rocket launch, which was seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.