WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on U.S.-North Korean tensions (all times local): 1:50 p.m. The Pentagon says B-1B bombers from Guam and F-15 fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, have flown a mission in international airspace over the waters east of North Korea.
The U.S. says it’s the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula that any American fighter or bomber has flown this century.
Defense Department spokesman Dana White says in a statement that the mission shows how seriously the U.S. takes what he calls North Korea’s “reckless behavior.”
His statement says 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.”
White says “we are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies.”
President Donald Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States was forced to defend itself or its allies against a North Korean attack.
That led the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, to say Trump would “pay dearly” for making such a threat. And Kim’s foreign minister has said country’s response to Trump “could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific.”
As with much that has transpired lately in the U.S.-North Korea nuclear crisis, no one can be sure where this would lead or whether the North will even carry out its threat.
It does raise many questions, including how would the North undertake such a nuclear test, what risks might it pose to Japan and how would the U.S. respond?