U.S. B-1B bomber, right, flies over Osan Air Base with South Korean Air Forces jet in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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The United States on Tuesday sent two nuclear-capable supersonic bombers streaking over ally South Korea in a show of force meant to cow North Korea after its recent nuclear test and also to settle rattled nerves in the South.South Korea does not have nuclear weapons and relies on the U.S. "nuclear umbrella" as a deterrent to North Korea.North Korea is keenly aware of the U.S. presence on the peninsula and of what it considers the U.S. nuclear threat. Nuclear expert Siegfried Hecker, who has regularly visited the North's nuclear facilities, estimates the North may have enough nuclear fuel for about 20 bombs by the end of 2016 and the ability to add about seven new bombs a year.South Korea's Defense Ministry said Monday that South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities believe North Korea has the ability to detonate another atomic device at any time at one of its tunnels at its main Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where the five previous atomic explosions took place.
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