European Union stops natural gas sales to North Korea

Britain 'preparing battle plan' for a possibility of war with North Korea

South Korean and USA government officials have been raising their guard against more North Korean provocations with the approach of the 72nd anniversary of the founding of North Korea's ruling party, which fell on Tuesday.

The F-15 escorts are notable "because combined operations require consent from South Korea, so this does not represent US unilateral action", according to Pinkston.

Gen. John Hyten, head of U.S. Strategic Command, has stated that the EMP threat is real, but the military appears more focused on North Korea's ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads. Such flights by the powerful aircraft based in Guam incense the North, which claims they are preparation for war; Pyongyang has threatened to send missiles into the waters around Guam.

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Lim and Sullivan are expected to discuss cooperation on major issues including their bilateral relations and North Korea's nuclear program.

Suspicions that Pyongyang may have stolen intel from South Korea will do nothing to de-escalate tensions with the U.S., which are already at a 50-year high following the North's rocket tests.

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 US and South Korea", reports the BBC. "And I can tell you who is going to win". -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. Neither Lee nor Defense Ministry officials responded to attempts late Tuesday to confirm the stories.

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The warplanes first conducted a simulated air-to-ground missile drill over the waters east of the Korean Peninsula and then flew over South Korea and conducted the same drill over the waters west of the peninsula, the South Korean military said.

North Korean hackers allegedly stole classified military documents from a South Korean Defense Ministry database in September 2016, according to Rhee Cheol-hee, a member of South Korea's National Assembly, CNN reported Wednesday.

Late last month, the U.S. flew B-1Bs over worldwide waters close to the North's east coast. Some military experts believe that power supply problems make it hard for North Korea to turn on its air defense radars for 24 hours a day and also that the systems might struggle to effectively track advanced warplanes such as B-1Bs, which have low radar-cross sections.

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The bombers took off from the US Pacific territory of Guam on Tuesday night, before entering South Korean airspace and conducting firing exercises over the East Sea and Yellow Sea, South Korea's military said.

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