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It involved a pair of B-1B Lancers staging a simulated air-to-ground missile firing with two South Korean F-15K jets over the Sea of Japan which then flew across the southern portion of the Korean peninsula.

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.

South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers after the September 23 mission that North Korea failed to detect the B-1B bombers as they flew in global airspace east of the country.

"If the North Koreans in fact accessed the US/South Korean defense plans, this is a treasure trove of information and presents a real danger", said CNN military analyst and retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona. "What I am going to tell you is that the [South Korea]-US alliance, that bilateral entity, is there to deal with those types of situation and safeguard against them".

U.S. President Donald Trump has "lit the wick of war" with North Korea and his country will be made to pay with "a hail of fire", a Russian news agency quoted North Korea's foreign minister as saying on Wednesday. In a speech at the United Nations in September, the US President accused the North Korean leader Kim of being "on a suicide mission" - while Kim responded by vowing to "tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire".

United States defense officials have told CNN that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will conduct scheduled exercises with the South Korean navy off the peninsula at the end of this month.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho gets into a car before heading to the US last month
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho gets into a car before heading to the US last month

And North Korea has denied this, and accused South Korea of "fabricating" the claims.

"There is an urgent need for the military to change and update parts that were stolen by North Korea", Lee said.

Despite the worldwide sanctions, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues to develop nuclear weapons and advance his nation's ballistic missile program. But Kim, the third generation of his family to rule, is officially revered in the North, and any suggestion of removing him from power is taken extremely seriously in Pyongyang.

Commenting on the news is Chris Doman, security researcher at AlienVault, who is investigating hacking groups in North Korea.

The rogue regime is suspected to have perpetrated the infamous Sony Pictures hack, incapacitated and stolen millions from top banks, negatively impacted hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide through the spread of ransomware, and disrupted numerous systems across South Korea.


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