United States flies bombers over Korean peninsula as Trump discusses options

South Korean F-15K fighter jets drop bombs as they fly over the Korean Peninsula during a joint drills with the U.S
Credit
AP

Rhee, a member of parliament's defence committee, could not be reached for comment but his office said he had been quoted correctly.

The show of force happened Tuesday as President Donald Trump met with his national security team to discuss options for dealing with the growing threat from the North.

Rhee said the hackers stole 235 gigabytes of data, almost 80 percent of which hasn't been identified yet.

He said the North's strategic forces have "inexhaustible power that won't leave aggressor state America unpunished".

A ministry spokesman declined to confirm the report, citing intelligence matters. More ominously, Trump tweeted "only one thing will work" over the weekend.

The secretive state has been suspected of carrying out cyber attacks on South Korean electric utilities as well as on other government and financial institutions.

Private electric companies in the USA were targeted by suspected North Korean hackers last month. The Australian newspaper reported that the hacker was based in China but Tehan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that "we don't know and we can not confirm exactly who the actor was".

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Democratic Party representative Rhee Cheol-hee said in radio appearances yesterday that 235 gigabytes of military documents were taken from the Defense Integrated Data Center in September a year ago, citing information from unnamed South Korean defence officials.

The Corporate Association of Kaesong Industrial Complex that represents the 123 South Korean manufacturing companies that operated factories in the North Korean facility said Thursday it wants to send a delegation to inspect their property.

However it is unlikely North Korea would agree to allow the business owners' request to visit their facilities, given the heightened tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

"The U.S. continues to kick up the racket of frantic nuclear war drills even though the situation on the Korean peninsula is on the verge of the outbreak of a worldwide thermonuclear war", the commentary read.

Consistent movements of personnel and equipment were being detected in certain locations in the North, Yonhap news agency reported, suggesting that preparations for another weapons test might be under way. His statement follows weeks of escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States, fuelled by Pyongyang's repeated nuclear tests and Trump's tough talk.

U.S. officials have voiced their concern that Kim Jong-un's nation could launch cyber attacks on American infrastructure. It is also unclear as to whether the hackers' activities point to a specific and/or known North Korean hacker group's involvement.

"While I would not characterize them as the best in the world, they are among the best in the world and the best organized", Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told the Senate previous year.

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