U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by F-15C fighter jets on Saturday flew in global airspace off North Korea's eastern coast in a show of force, the U.S. military announced.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea are escalating rapidly, as the U.S. has now flown bombers and fighter escorts right up to North Korea's border.
While the USA military routinely conducts such missions in response to North Korean missile and nuclear tests, this flight was the "farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone any USA fighter or bomber aircraft (h) as3/8 flown off North Korea's coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take (North Korea's) reckless behavior", White said.
The flights are a "demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message" that President Donald Trump "has many military options to defeat any threat", she said.
"North Korea's weapons programme is a grave threat to the Asia-Pacific region and the entire global community".
Ms White added: "we are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the USA homeland and our allies".
The bombers were joined by U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan. It is only a forlorn hope to consider any chance that [North Korea] would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces, ' he said.
The U.S. Air Force scrambled two B-1B Lancer bombers and four F-35B Lightning II stealth jets to the Korean Peninsula on September 18, following North Korea's sixth nuclear test and launch of the Hwaseong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile earlier this month. The flight underscored "the seriousness with which we take North Korea's reckless behaviour", the Pentagon said.
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have exchanged increasingly bellicose rhetoric in recent days, as global alarm mounts over Pyongyang's weapons ambitions - including a hint this week that the country is considering detonating an H-bomb over the Pacific.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted, "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"
Kim lashed back at Trump in a rare personal statement Thursday, calling Trump "a mentally deranged USA dotard" and a "gangster" who had to be tamed "with fire".
Two days ago, an executive order allowing Washington to ramp up fresh sanctions against North Korea was signed by Trump with the latest measure banning foreign banks and businesses doing any trade with Pyongyang.
Trump is the "gravest threat to worldwide peace", said Ri, referring to the USA leader as "President Evil" holding the nuclear button.
The patrols came after officials and experts said a small quake near North Korea's nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb.
Trump continued the heated exchange with the North Koreans Saturday night. "In case innocent lives of the USA are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible".
"Trump might not have been aware what is uttered from his mouth, but we will make sure that he bears consequences far beyond his words, far beyond the scope of what he can handle even if he is ready to do so", Ri said.
On Thurdsay, Trump announced increased economic sanctions against the impoverished and isolated country, targeting foreign companies who do business with the North.
South Korea's Blue House said Sunday in a statement that the flyover of the B-1B bombers near the military demarcation line "came with close cooperation between South Korea and the United States".
"He, who cried out the extermination of the Korean nation, is a blood-thirsty beast indulged in massacring", the Korean Central News Agency cited the statement as saying.
Earlier this month, Pyongyang fired its second missile in as many months over northern Japan into the Pacific Ocean.
The flight follows a week of heightened rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang, with Trump and Kim Jong Un trading insults. It also has a vast array of conventional artillery aimed at Seoul.