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Before United Nations Meeting, US, South Korea, Japan Show Air Power


This picture provided by the SOuth Korean Defense Ministry shows a US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber (R), US F-35B stealth jet fighters (bottom) and South Korean F-15K fighter jets (top) flying over South Korea during a joint military drill aimed to counter North Korea’s latest nuclear and missile tests. The US flew four stealth fighter jets and two bombers over the Korean peninsula on September 18 (Credit: AFP PHOTO / South Korean Defence Ministry handout).

The United States, South Korea and Japan carried out military exercises with warplanes over the Korean Peninsula Monday. At the same time, world leaders were gathering for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

Russia and China also began joint naval exercises in the area adding to the military presence near the Korean Peninsula.

The actions follow North Korea’s test of a middle-range missile which flew over Japan Friday.

The U.S. Defense Department said two bombers and four fighter planes flew over the Korean Peninsula and fired live weapons during a test.

South Korean defense minister Song Young-moo said the joint exercises are being carried out “two to three times a month.”

Later, the planes joined four Japanese F-2 fighter planes over the sea near the island of Kyushu, Japan.

The U.S. Pacific Command said the exercises support “the ability to respond to any threat in the Indo-Asian Pacific theater at a moment’s notice.”

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua said that Russia and China began naval exercises near the eastern port of Vladivostok. Xinhua online said the naval exercises are to extend to the Sea of Okhotsk, North of Japan.

Reuters news service says the joint naval exercises are the second part of related maneuvers between the countries in the Baltic Sea.

Tension remain high near the Korean Peninsula

On September 3, North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. The U.N. Security Council answered one week later by approving a resolution placing stronger sanctions on the North.

The issue of North Korea is expected to be discussed during this week’s United Nations General Assembly Meeting in New York.

United States President Donald Trump has warned that he would not let North Korea threaten the U.S. or its allies.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and national security adviser H.R. McMaster speak to reporters at the White House, in Washington, Sept. 15, 2017.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and national security adviser H.R. McMaster speak to reporters at the White House, in Washington, Sept. 15, 2017.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, has said North Korea’s continued weapons tests present a serious security problem.

“What is really important with North Korea is that we try and push through as many diplomatic options as we have,” she said.

However, she added if economic pressure does not work, there might be little more that the U.N. can do.

China and Russia have called for a diplomatic solution and restarting talks.

On Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the most recent sanctions on North Korea were just approved. He called on all parties involved to put the sanctions into effect “strictly, rather than complicating the issue.”

Lu added that China supports improved relations between the two Koreas.

On September 11, the U.N. Security Council voted to place stronger restriction on North Korea. They include limits on North Korea’s oil imports and a ban on its exports of clothing products. The sanctions are meant to further pressure North Korea to end its nuclear and long-range missile programs.

North Korea denounced the UN resolution calling it an “inhumane act of hostility” against its people, system and government. North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said the country would not give up its weapons programs.

The UN sanctions appear to be having an economic effect on the country. Reuters news agency reports that prices for gasoline and diesel fuel appear to have increased sharply since the latest nuclear test.

I’m Mario Ritter.

David Jones reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English with additional material from Reuters. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

sanction –n. measure put in place to cause a country to obey international law, usually by limiting or banning trade

theater –n. an area, such as a large geographical area, where action takes place

options –n. two or more possible actions that can be chosen from

maneuvers –n. a set of planned movements or actions by military groups meant to show and develop skill

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