Published: Mon, September 25, 2017
Sports | By Phillip Butler

US B1-B bombers fly mission off North Korean coast

US B1-B bombers fly mission off North Korean coast

Dana White, chief Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement Saturday that U.S. B-1 bomber and F-15 fighter jets launched from airfields in the region and flew in worldwide airspace over waters east of North Korea.

White added: "This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone [DMZ] any USA fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea's coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take [North Korea's] reckless behavior". He said the United States leader who "holds the nuclear button" posed "the gravest threat to global peace and security today".

"We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies", Ms White said.

The US flew bombers near North Korea's coast on Saturday, an action the Defense Department said was meant to send a clear message to Pyongyang about the country's military options.

Ri did not respond on Saturday when asked by reporters whether North Korea had conducted a new nuclear test.

Saturday's jet patrol comes after officials and experts concluded a small natural disaster registered near North Korea's nuclear test site was likely not man-made. He called Trump "mentally deranged" and said the president was "playing with fire".

Ri Yong-ho's comments to the General Assembly mimicked Mr Trump's remarks at the United Nations on Tuesday, when he called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a "rocket man on a suicide mission". The comments marked an escalation in rhetorical warfare that has already seen Mr Trump promise "fire and fury" if North Korea does not curb its pursuit of nuclear weapons that could hit America.

Ri emphasized that North Korea has the know-how to carry out its threat.

The bomber flight and quake came at the end of a week that saw a blistering war of words between Kim and Trump, with the USA leader using his maiden speech at the United Nations General Assembly to warn that Washington would "totally destroy" the North if America or its allies were threatened.

On Friday, Trump kept up his verbal fusillade against Kim, tweeting that Kim is a "madman" who will be "tested like never before".

On Thursday, Trump announced more economic sanctions against the impoverished and isolated country, targeting foreign companies that deal with the North.

In a speech this week before the U.N., Trump warned North Korea that it could face potential obliteration and mocked the North's young leader as a "Rocket Man" on a "suicide mission".

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year, several flying over Japan, as it accelerates its program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Trump also said China was imposing major banking sanctions, too, but there was no immediate confirmation from the North's most important trading partner. China, responsible for about 90 percent of North Korea's trade, serves as the country's conduit to the global banking system.

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