This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.
In a show of force following North Korea’s latest test fire of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, two U.S. supersonic B-1 bombers — accompanied by fighter jets from both South Korea and Japan — flew over the Korean Peninsula on Saturday.
“North Korea’s test launch today of another intercontinental ballistic missile — the second such test in less than a month — is only the latest reckless and dangerous action by the North Korean regime,” the White House said in a statement on Friday.
Continuing, Washington, D.C. said it rejects all claims that the Hermit Kingdom is developing its missile program for the purpose of national defense:
“In reality, they have the opposite effect. By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people. The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”
Donald Trump took to Twitter himself on Saturday, using the latest missile test to once again accuse China of reaping economic benefits from trade with North Korea while refusing to do more to rein in Kim Jong-un’s military. In the two-part tweet, the U.S. president even took a shot at the administrations that preceded him:
“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
Later, on Saturday night, the U.S. military announced it had responded to the North’s missile test with some regional muscle-flexing. From NBC News:
“The United States and its allies flew supersonic bombers and fighter jets over the Korea Peninsula on Sunday in a 10-hour show of force against North Korea following the country’s latest ICBM launch.
“The American B-1 bombers first flew over Japanese airspace, where they were joined by two Japanese F-2 fighter jets, before flying over the Korean Peninsula with four South Korean F-15 fighter jets, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.”
In that statement, General Terrance J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, called North Korea “the most urgent threat to regional stability” and said the use of “overwhelming force” is a very real option on the table:
“Diplomacy remains the lead. However, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”
On Sunday, in typically belligerent fashion, the state-run media of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — the official name of North Korea — called upon the U.S. to halt its military threats, adding that continued economic sanctions will lead to “firm action” in response:
“The US needs to stop with its delusion of trying to harm us, by clearly understanding the strategic status of the DPRK which soared up as the world’s nuclear and missile power, and our military and peoples’ strong will to revenge our enemies to destruction.
“If the US continues to frantically cling on to the so-called ‘strong sanctions’ and military adventures against us, we will respond with firm action of justice that we had already made clear.”
Heightening regional tensions even further is the fact that in direct response to the North’s latest test launch, South Korea just ordered additional units of the controversial — and U.S.-supplied — Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense (THAAD) missile system to be installed within its borders.
This marks a reversal of policy, as the South had previously advocated the removal of the missile system, chiefly because of neighboring China’s strong suspicion that the U.S. could use THAAD’s powerful radars to penetrate its defense networks.