North Korean Foreign Minister, Ri Yong Ho’s remarks to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly came hours after US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighters flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea in a show of force the Pentagon said showed the range of military options available to Trump.
Ri’s speech capped a week of rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, with Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un trading insults. Trump called Kim a “madman” on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a “mentally deranged US dotard.”
On Saturday, the mudslinging continued with Ri calling Trump “a mentally deranged person full of megalomania and complacency” who is trying to turn the UN into a “gangsters’ nest”. Ri said Trump himself was on a “suicide mission” after the US president had said Kim was on such a mission.
He said sanctions would have no effect on Pyongyang’s resolve to develop its nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal being “balance of power with the US”
Trump announced new US sanctions on Thursday that he said allow targeting of companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.
Earlier this month the UN Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth round of sanctions on Pyongyang to counter its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.
The US bombers’ flight was the farthest north of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea that any US fighter jet or bomber has flown in the 21st century, Pentagon said.
“This mission is a demonstration of US resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat. We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.
The Pentagon said the B-1B bombers came from Guam and their US Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts came from Okinawa, Japan. Previous shows of force with bombers have stayed south of the demilitarized zone.