In a first, US, Japan, South Korea hold joint air drill near Korean peninsula

The US, Japan and South Korea on Sunday conducted a joint air exercise near the Korean Peninsula, Seoul's Air Force said.

The event marked the first time for the three countries to hold joint air drills in the area.

The three-way exercise took place south of the peninsula, where South Korean and Japanese air defense identification zones overlap, involving a US B-52H strategic bomber, as well as South Korean, US and Japanese fighter jets, Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reported, citing a statement from the armed service.

It came after Seoul, Washington and Tokyo, earlier this month, staged a trilateral maritime interdiction exercise in waters south of the Korean Peninsula for the first time in seven years.

"This exercise was designed to follow through on the defense agreements discussed in the Camp David summit in August and expand the three countries' response capabilities against North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats," Seoul's Air Force said in a statement, referring to a meeting between the leaders of the three countries at Camp David.

The exercise, it stated, demonstrated the solidarity between the three countries, adding that it plans to further enhance trilateral cooperation based on the "solid" South Korea-US alliance.

Reacting angrily against the ongoing three-way cooperation, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, last month, labeled it as the "worst actual threat."

A US B-52H nuclear-capable bomber made its first known landing at a South Korean airbase last week after staging joint air drills with South Korean fighters and flying over a biennial arms exhibition just south of Seoul.

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