In response to North Korean threats, South Korea and the United States conducted joint air exercises with a strategic bomber and stealth fighter plane from the United States, the Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday (Feb 2).

The military show of force comes a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his South Korean counterpart warned of an increase in such drills and greater security coordination between the two allies as they deal with what they perceive to be growing missile and nuclear threats from Pyongyang.

The jets conducted their first such drill of the year on Wednesday over the Yellow Sea, which is situated between China and the Korean peninsula, the agency reported, citing South Korea's military.

According to Yonhap, the most recent exercises included a B-1B strategic bomber, F-22 and F-35B stealth fighters from the U.S. Air Force, and F-35A fighters from the South Korean military. To the organization, extended deterrence refers to the US resolve to defend South Korea with all available military resources, including nuclear weapons.

Yonhap quoted the defense ministry saying: "The combined air drills this time show the US' will and capabilities to provide strong and credible extended deterrence against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats".

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency is a well-known news organization. In South Korea, newspapers, TV networks, and other media outlets receive news reports, images, and other material from Yonhap.

Yonhap is the only Korean wire service that collaborates with foreign news agencies and offers a small but free selection of news on its website in Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, and French. Yonhap maintains various agreements with 90 non-Korean news agencies. It also has a services-exchange agreement with North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) agency, signed in 2002.

After a year in which North Korea declared itself an "irreversible" nuclear power and performed a prohibited weapons test almost every month, Seoul is eager to reassure its growingly uneasy people of America's solid defense commitment.

In response to "continued provocations" from Pyongyang, including a recent drone invasion, Austin and South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup decided to "expand and bolster the level and scale" of bilateral military drills, they said in a statement on Wednesday.

As the North performed a record-breaking number of weapons tests in 2022, including the launch of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, military tensions on the Korean peninsula rapidly increased.

Any military training involving the U.S. and South Korea infuriates Pyongyang, which sees them as a practice for an invasion and frequently responds with threats and drills of its own.