US Warplanes Fly Near North Korea in "Show of Force", Pentagon Says

N Korean quake suspected explosion: China

US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew in global airspace off North Korea's eastern coast in the latest show of force against the isolated country, officials said, amid an escalating war of words between Pyongyang and Washington. Trump called Kim a "madman" on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a "mentally deranged USA dotard".

American bomber and fighter jets flew along North Korea's eastern coastline Saturday in a "show of force" that was closer to the rogue nation's border than any other mission this century, the Pentagon reported.

Trump said as he joined Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and the South Korean president Moon Jae-in for a meeting in NY, that "North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime". "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.

The patrols came after experts said a small quake near North Korea's nuclear test site last night was probably not man-made, easing fears the North had exploded another nuclear bomb, just weeks after its last one.

Kim in turn called Trump a "frightened dog" and a "mentally deranged US dotard".

The foreign minister told the United Nations that North Korea has successfully tested nuclear bombs that can be mounted to ICBMs and that Trump, who he called "president evil", is making a North Korean attack on the USA "inevitable", CBS News reports.

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

Trump continued the heated exchange with the North Koreans Saturday night.

"It is not clear Kim Jong-un is receiving that message".

Ri, who said Pyongyang's ultimate goal was to establish a "balance of power with the US", retorted that Trump himself was on a "suicide mission" after the United States president said Kim was on such a mission.

Trump announced new United States sanctions on Thursday targeting companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea. "Evil President" Donald Trump called Pyongyang's leader "rocket man", further escalating rhetoric over the North's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The ban also applies to vessels that have done a ship-to-ship transfer with a vessel that has visited North Korea within 180 days.

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates its nuclear weapons programme. China, responsible for about 90 percent of North Korea's trade, serves as the country's conduit to the worldwide banking system.

China is North Korea's most important trading partner, and one of its only sources of hard currency.

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