US deploys long-range stealth bombers for exercises amid North Korea tensions

A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnson County, Missouri.
A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnson County, Missouri. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said it is deploying for exercises in Asia three long-range stealth bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, 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," General Lori J. Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander, said on Wednesday (March 9).

The planes - which 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-calibre 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.