US warplanes fly missions off North Korea

US bombers and fighter jets have flown over waters east of North Korea, sending a signal to Kim Jong Un following days of heated escalating rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.

The missions came at the end of a week that saw North Korea threaten to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific after Donald Trump said Mr Kim was on a “suicide mission” and warned that the US would “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its regional allies.

Speaking at a political rally in Alabama on Friday night, Mr Trump referred to Mr Kim as “Little Rocket Man”. Earlier in the week the North Korean leader described Mr Trump as a "mentally deranged dotard” who would “pay dearly” for his bellicose rhetoric towards Pyongyang.

US warplanes, sometimes accompanied by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets, have been increasing the tempo of missions over the Korean peninsula in an effort to warn Pyongyang about the possible military repercussions of threatening America and its Asian allies. But Dana White, Pentagon spokesperson, said the US warplanes flew farther north of the demilitarised zone — which separates South and North Korea — than any point in the 21st century.

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