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U.S. Sends Bombers on Never Before Seen Mission Off North Korean Coast

The United States took an unprecedented military step Saturday by flying B-1 bombers with a fighter escort up the eastern North Korean coast.

“This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. 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,” said Dana White, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Defense.

“This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat,” she said. “North Korea’s weapons program is a grave threat to the Asia-Pacific region and the entire international community.”

“We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies,” she added.

The B-1B Lancer bombers were escorted by the F-15C fighter jets over international waters.

The B-1B Lancer bombers came from Guam and the F-15C Eagle fighter escorts came from Okinawa, Japan. No allied planes were part of the flight.

Over the past month, the United States has flown B-1B bombers and F-35 fighters over South Korean airspace as part of a show of force to deter North Korea from hostile actions.

Also Saturday, seismic activity was recorded at the site of North Korea’s nuclear tests. What appeared to be a magnitude 3.5 earthquake took place near North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear site.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, a watchdog group opposed to nuclear testing, said the activity did not appear to be as a result of more testing.

North Korea spewed insults at President Donald Trump Saturday.

“Trump, the president of so-called ‘power,’ is mad enough to wag his tongue without any consideration that he would ‘totally destroy’ a sovereign state,” North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

“Trump’s rubbish is the (sic) open declaration of war against our supreme dignity, state, social system and people, and an unpardonable extra-large provocation,” the report said, adding that “the US warmongers will face unimaginable consequences.”

The economic noose around North Korea tightened further Saturday as China announced that as of Oct. 1, it will limit exports of refined petroleum products from North Korea. China will also ban sales of liquefied natural gas immediately and will stop importing textiles from North Korea.