(Story corrects to say B1-B was designed as nuclear bomber in final paragraph)
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan said it had conducted joint air drills with U.S. supersonic bombers in Japanese skies close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday as tension in the region escalates amid North Korea’s continued ballistic missile tests.
The exercise around Japan’s southern Kyushu island involved two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and two Japanese F-2 jet fighters, Japan’s Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said in a news release.
North Korea said on Wednesday it is considering a strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, hours after President Donald trump said any threat from Pyongyang would be met with “fire and fury.”
Andersen Air Force Base on Guam is where the U.S. keeps its B1-B bombers deployed to the Asia Pacific.
The U.S. planes, which were designed to carry nuclear bombs and later switched to conventional payloads, followed up the drills with Japan with a separate exercise with South Korean Forces, the ASDF said.
Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Kim Coghill