The United States B-1B bomber flew on December 6, 2017 as part of Vigilant Ace ─ the joint United States and South Korea military exercise. The participation of US B-1B bombers in the exercise was previously announced by South Korean media, but not confirmed by the US Air Force.

“We hope relevant parties can maintain restraint and not do anything to add tensions on the Korean peninsula,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang commented on the B-1B flight during a regular news briefing in Beijing, Reuters reports.

The Vigilant Ace is a regular exercise according to the US and South Korea military officials. It started on December 5, 2017 and is schedule to last until December 8, 2017, with 12 000 US military personnel and over 230 aircraft, including six US F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters and 18 F-35 stealth fighter jets,  are taking part in the exercise on the Korean Peninsula.

The joint exercise is adding to the rising tension in the Korean Peninsula is rising again. It comes just one week after North Korea announced a successful testing of its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile, with the range capable of reaching most of the US. North Korea’s state Rodong media outlet called the drill a provocation and said it is pushing towards a nuclear war.

Both China and Russia had previously urged the Vigilance Ace organizers to call off the drill. On the starting day of Vigilant Ace the Chinese Air force spokesman made an announcement on the recent China’s air force drills near the Korean Peninsula, South China Morning Post announce. It is known that fighter jets, reconnaissance planes, and an early warning and control aircraft participated in the Chinese exercise, but the exact date of it was kept confidential.