SEOUL, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bomber landed on the Korean Peninsula for the first time ever Tuesday after conducting a flyover at a Seoul defense expo and participating in a joint exercise with South Korean fighter jets.
The nuclear-capable bomber landed at an air base in Cheongju, 70 miles south of Seoul. Earlier in the day, it flew over Seoul Air Base to mark the opening of the 2023 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, which is scheduled to run until Monday.
"These flyovers, air demonstrations and static displays, including the landing for the B-52 on the peninsula, are part of our continued pledge to promote peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula," U.S. 7th Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Rachel Buitrago said in a statement released by U.S. Forces Korea.
The nuclear and conventional heavy bomber can fly at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and has a combat range in excess of 8,800 miles without refueling. While B-52s have flown over the Korean Peninsula during exercises, Tuesday marks the first time the bomber has landed in the country.
The B-52 also participated in a combined air exercise with South Korean F-35A fighters, Seoul's air force said in a statement.
The exercise "once again demonstrated the outstanding joint operation capabilities of the South Korean and U.S. Air Forces and the United States' commitment to extended deterrence for the defense of the Republic of Korea," the statement said.
"Extended deterrence" is the American commitment to use all capabilities, including nuclear, to defend South Korea from the North's threats.
South Korea and the United States signed the Washington Declaration in April, a nuclear cooperation pact that pledged to ramp up the visibility of American strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula.
On Friday, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan docked in the southeastern port city of Busan, prompting a threat of "catastrophic consequences" from North Korea.