S.Korea, US to hold vice-ministerial strategic dialogue next week

US flew bombers over Korean peninsula late Tuesday: South Korea military

On Wednesday, the US and South Korea flew two strategic bombers over the Korean peninsula in a joint military exercise - another show of force against Pyongyang amid the mounting tensions.

The exercise showed the "strong ability of the alliance against the North Korean nuclear missile threat", the South Korean air force said.

The warplanes first conducted a simulated air-to-ground missile drill over the waters east of the Korean Peninsula and then flew over South Korea and conducted the same drill over the waters west of the peninsula, the South Korean military said.

North Korea has been conducting regular missile tests in recent months as well as testing a nuclear warhead in September, all part of its bid to establish a nuclear deterrent to what it sees as a military threat from the US.

Hackers linked to North Korea reportedly targeted US electric power companies, according to a leading cybersecurity firm.

The ministry said that there are no specific signs that confirm North Korea's reopening of the factory zone, though some bus movements and illuminated street lamps have been spotted. Robert Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense for almost five years during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, said on October 9 that "at a number of different points I have to confess in reading the President's tweets that I wish Twitter had never been invented", the daily The Australian reported on October 10.

North Korea's "strategic forces, possessing inexhaustible strength not yet known to anyone, will not let America, an aggressor state, go unpunished", Ri continued.

An unusually aggressive approach to the North by Trump, which has included rhetoric hinting at US strikes and threatening the destruction of North Korea's leadership, has some South Koreans fearful that war is closer than at any time since the Korean War ended in 1953 in a shaky cease-fire, leaving the Korean Peninsula still technically in a state of war.

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US B-1 bombers flying from Guam have been seen regularly over the Korean Peninsula amid escalating tensions with Pyongyang - running regular training flights with Japanese and South Korean fighter jets that often provoke the ire of the North Korean regime.

During his remarks at the United Nations last month, Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea and mocked the country's leader, whom he referred to as "Rocket Man".

-South Korean war plans, including parts of Operational Plan 5015, which includes procedures for a decapitation strike on the North's leadership if a crisis breaks out or appears imminent.

US President Donald Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Trump defended his tough approach on Wednesday as he conceded differences on North Korea with his own top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, who advocates keeping open the possibility of negotiations with Kim's authoritarian government.

United States operations out of Guam are particularly provocative, as most suggestions are that a real USA attack on North Korea would come from warplanes out of Guam.

The delegation of Russian journalists was visiting Pyongyang shortly after a group of Russian MPs travelled to North Korea.

It would also be the first such a meeting between the two allies since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office in May.

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