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B-2 bombers not intended to provoke North Korea, says Hagel

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Speaking to reporters earlier, both Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the B-2 bombers were a message intended more for allies than Pyongyang.

"The North Koreans have to understand that what they're doing is very dangerous," Hagel said. "I don't think we're doing anything extraordinary or provocative or out of the ... orbit of what nations do to protect their own interests." The U.S., he added, must make it clear to South Korea, Japan and other allies in the region that "these provocations by the North are taken by us very seriously, and we'll respond to that."

U.S. Forces Korea announced in a statement Thursday that two B-2 stealth bombers flew from an air base in the U.S. and dropped dummy munitions on a South Korean island range before returning home. The Pentagon said this was the first time dummy munitions had been dropped over South Korea, but late Thursday it was unclear whether there ever had been any B-2 flights there.

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