Two U.S. Air Force bombers flew over North Korea on Tuesday night, in a demonstration aimed at deterring North Korean military activity on the 72nd anniversary of the regime's ruling party, Reuters reported.
During Tuesday's drills, the USA bombers, which flew from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, staged simulated air-to-ground missile striking drills off the peninsula's east coast before flying across the country accompanied by the two South Korean fighters.
North Korea has test-fired several missiles and conducted what it said was a test explosion of a hydrogen bomb as it advances toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland.
A spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry said last month that the more sanctions the U.S. and its allies impose on North Korea, the faster the nation will work to develop its nuclear weapons programme, according to North Korea's official KCNA news agency.
South Korean and U.S. government officials have been raising their guard against more North Korean provocations with the approach of the 72nd anniversary of the founding of North Korea's ruling party, which fell on Tuesday.
The U.S. bombers took off from the Andersen Air Force base in Guam, the U.S. Pacific territory that North Korea singled out as a possible target for a missile strike over the summer, as President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un engaged in bombastic rhetoric and brinkmanship.
The B-1Bs also conducted exercises with Japan's Air Self-Defense Force in what the US statement called a "sequenced bilateral mission".
Trump slammed more than two decades of USA policy toward North Korea on Twitter on Monday, saying past action to quell the crisis "didn't work".
The Pentagon also declined to comment specifically on reports of the potential breach, but spokesman Col. Robert Manning said on Tuesday that the USA is "confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea".
Some 235 gigabytes of military documents were taken from South Korea's Defence Integrated Data Centre in September a year ago, Democratic Party representative Rhee Cheol-hee said in radio appearances on Wednesday, citing information from unidentified South Korean defence officials.
Carter's track record will make him even more palatable to the North, as he stepped in previously, in 1994, when then-US President Bill Clinton was drawing up plans for an attack on North Korea's nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
A ministry spokesman declined to confirm the report, citing intelligence matters. Last month he got China to agree to new U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea.
FireEye thinks that the attacks are a result of the soaring tensions between Pyongyang and Washington following the hermit nation's ballistic missile tests and nuclear programmes.
On Tuesday, President Trump met with his national security team and top military leaders to discuss military options against North Korea. "This positive process is worth a try", the paper said in an editorial late on Tuesday.
The ultimate aim, he said, would be "establishing a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula".
Speaking during a parliamentary audit Thursday, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said, "We will beef up our leading role to generate an environment in which denuclearization talks can resume".