US Flies Bombers Over Korean Peninsula in Show of Force

June 20, 2017 8:48 pm Last Updated: June 20, 2017 8:48 pm

Two U.S. supersonic bombers conducted drills over the Korean Peninsula on June 20, a day after the death of Otto Warmbier, the American student recently released after a 17-month detainment in North Korea.

The B-1B bombers conducted exercises with the Japanese and South Korean air forces “to defend against provocative and destabilizing actions in the Pacific theater,” the U.S. military stated, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. often uses the bombers to show strength in response to hostile actions carried out by North Korea’s Stalinist regime, such as ballistic missile tests or nuclear tests.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. (KCNA via REUTERS)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. (KCNA via REUTERS)

This time, the demonstration could be tied to the death of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old student from Cincinnati who was sentenced to 15 years of forced labor for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster from a Pyongyang hotel lobby.

The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released on May 15, 2017. (KCNA via REUTERS)
The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released on May 15, 2017. (KCNA via REUTERS)

The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released on May 15, 2017. (KCNA via REUTERS)
The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released on May 15, 2017. (KCNA via REUTERS)

He fell into coma sometime during his imprisonment and remained so until his death on June 19, just a week after he was released and returned home to the U.S.

There are still three Americans currently held in North Korea.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in this handout photo by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) made available on April 26, 2017. (KCNA/Handout via REUTERS)
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in this handout photo by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) made available on April 26, 2017. (KCNA/Handout via REUTERS)

Otto Frederick Warmbier (C), a University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea since early January, is taken to North Korea's top court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo on March 16, 2016. (REUTERS/Kyodo)
Otto Frederick Warmbier (C), a University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea since early January, is taken to North Korea’s top court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo on March 16, 2016. (REUTERS/Kyodo)

President Donald Trump has recently stepped up efforts to secure the release of Americans detained abroad, including two Americans held in Iran, and one held in Venezuela, The Washington Post reported.