The exercises came hours after a South Korean lawmaker claimed North Korean hackers had stolen a large cache of military documents from his country, "including a plan to assassinate North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, and wartime contingency plans drawn up by the USA and South Korea", reports the BBC. -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.
It was the first time US Pacific Command B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with Japanese and South Korean fighter aircraft at night, the US military said in a statement.
"FireEye devices detected and stopped spear phishing emails sent on September 22, 2017, to U.S. electric companies by known cyber threat actors likely affiliated with the North Korean government", the infosec outfit reported on Tuesday.
"South Korean and US air forces showed off the allies' resolve for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats", the JCS said in a statement carried by local news agency Yonhap.
The bomber drill came as US President Donald Trump on Tuesday discussed "a range of options" with his national security team to respond to North Korea's recent missile and nuclear tests.
An unusually aggressive approach to the North by Trump, which has included rhetoric hinting at U.S. 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 a shaky ceasefire in 1953.
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"There is an urgent need for the military to change and update parts that were stolen by North Korea", Lee said.
At the end of last month, North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong-ho said that the USA had "declared war" on the authoritarian state and was "right" to shoot down American planes.
Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the cyberattacks in its state media, criticising Seoul for "fabricating" claims about online attacks. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and other communist officials at an undisclosed location in North Korea in this picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency.
Trump has engaged in an escalating war of words with North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un, trading insults amid rising tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
These plans had likely not been classified properly but defence ministry officials told Rhee the hacked documents were not of top importance, he said.
The Pentagon also declined to comment specifically on reports of the potential breach, but spokesman Col. Robert Manning said on Tuesday that the United States is "confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea".
The U.S. has been pursuing a strategy of "maximum pressure" on North Korea, applying diplomatic and economic pressure multilaterally and unilaterally.