After North Korea missile, Britain and Japan agree closer security ties

North Korea tests push US to action on Chinese banks

North Korea, which claims Washington has long threatened it by flaunting the powerful USA nuclear arsenal, describes the long-range B-1Bs as "nuclear strategic bombers" although the United States no longer arms them with nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Pacific Command said the exercises were conducted in response to North Korea's recent missile launch.

The US frequently flies the high-endurance, high-capacity B-1 with Japan's and South Korea's fighter jets nearby, but the addition of the F-35 sends a message: While North Korea's military capability is growing, so is the US's. "When they are ready to limit their provocative actions we may see this path for some sort of dialogue in the near future", Tillerson said a week ago.

According to the Air Force, this mission is in "direct response to North Korea's intermediate range ballistic missile launch and emphasizes the combined ironclad commitment to regional allies and partners".

The F-35B in the hands of US Marine aviators has excellent stealth characteristics that mean North Korea wouldn't even know if the planes were overhead.

Britain and Japan are aiming to put in place a bilateral trade agreement "pretty much immediately" after Brexit, a government source said on Thursday, as Prime Minister Theresa May tries to reassure businesses and politicians during a visit to Tokyo. Still, it's unclear whether the North will ever act on its threat to fire missiles at the "advanced base of invasion".

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North Korea has repeatedly conducted missile launches in recent months, despite being barred from doing so under United Nations rules.

China, North Korea's only major ally, has been calling for a "dual suspension" in which the North stops its nuclear and missile tests and Washington and Seoul halt their military exercises to lower tensions and lead to talks. "We continue to work together, and the minister and I share responsibility to provide for the protection of our nation, our populations, and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss today", he said.

It is easy for the United States and North Korea to posture and threaten - for North Korea to carry out nuclear and missile tests and for the USA to conduct B-1B bomber and F-35 flights and military exercises. But the F-35, built to counter superpowers like China and Russian Federation, could handily overpower anything North Korea could throw at it.

Responding to a question, Mattis said North Korea could do something like that (nuclear test) on relatively short notice.

"The North's intention was to push the boundaries of its military presence farther from the Korean Peninsula and Japan and into the wider Pacific, and they practically drew the line at Guam with their missile threat", he said.

Asked why there was no defensive military action taken over the launch, Mattis suggested that U.S. and Japanese forces nearly immediately knew the missile, which landed far out into the Pacific Ocean, was not targeted at anyone.

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