US, allies fly fighter jets amid North Korea tensions

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and its Asian allies have flown dozens of fighter jets over waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula in a show of force as their diplomats discussed a coordinated response to a possibly imminent North Korean nuclear test.

The flights came as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman traveled to Seoul for discussions with South Korea and Japanese officials over the gathering North Korean threat and warned of a “swift and forceful” counterresponse if the North proceeds with a nuclear test explosion.

While Washington has vowed to push for stronger sanctions if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, prospects for robust punitive measures are dim with a divided U.N. Security Council.

US, S. Korea fire missiles to sea, matching North’s launches

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S. and South Korea have launched eight ballistic missiles into the sea in a show of force matching a North Korean display a day earlier that extended a provocative streak in weapons demonstrations.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday’s drill was aimed at demonstrating an ability to respond swiftly and accurately to North Korean attacks.

Its launches of eight missiles on Sunday appeared to be a single-day record for North Korea and was its 18th round of missile tests this year.

Experts say the weapons displays are a brinksmanship ploy to bring the United States back to their stalled diplomacy from a position of strength and to cement North Korea’s status as a nuclear power.

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