Two US bombers have flown close to North Korea today in a show of force to intimidate despot Kim Jong-un.
The supersonic US B-1B strategic bombers zoomed over South Korea as part of an air show prompting Kim to warn the Korean peninsula is on the "eve of explosion".
They flew low over Seoul Air Base for eight minutes as part of the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition 2017, reports News.com.au.
The first bomber was escorted by two South Korean F-15K fighter jets and flew as low as 450 metres above the ground before exiting to the west.
The second flew even lower, just 150 metres above the site.
"Their altitudes were so low that they were seen well from the stands, and not only the roar, but even a little vibration was also felt that spectators gaped at them," a defence ministry official said.
The bombers took off from Guam's Anderson Air Base earlier in the day before entering the skies of South Korea.
The flyover comes 11 days after two B-1B bombers carried out surprise night-time exercises over the waters off South Korea's east and west coasts in a show of force against North Korea.
American news service Foreign Policy (FP) reports that a destroyer issued a flash "warning order" in September to prepare for a Tomahawk cruise missile attack on North Korea.
The battle station alarm is called a WARNO, which alerts the crew to be ready to strike instantly.
A former senior defence official told Foreign Policy. "I would say it is a fairly significant indicator that the possibility of using Tomahawks is rising."
The official stated that it's not "unheard" to issue a WARNO and does not necessarily mean Washington is preparing to attack the secret state.
But former naval commander Ted Johnson told FP: "The fact that it's for a Tomahawk strike into [North Korea] feels ominous, but my guess it's more about having a quick strike response should 'Rocket Man' make an irrational decision and overt provocation."
What if Kim dies?
If North Korea's Kim Jong-un disappeared or died the CIA would keep quiet, its director has claimed.
Mike Pompeo told security officials at a Washington conference that it would not make a public comment.
"With respect, if Kim Jong-un should vanish, given the history of the CIA, I'm just not going to talk about it," he told the Foundation for Defence of Democracies forum.
"Someone might think there was a coincidence. 'You know, there was an accident.' It's just not fruitful."
His comments were originally reported in the South China Morning Post.
Pompeo did warn however that North Korea is just months away from perfecting its nuclear capabilities.
"They are close enough now in their capabilities that from a US policy perspective we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving their objective of being able to strike the US," he said.
US will defend South Korea
US naval commanders on Saturday reiterated Washington's "iron-clad" commitment to defend South Korea against North Korean threats as an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier visited a South Korean port following a joint naval drill.
Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of Naval Forces Korea, said aboard the USS Ronald Reagan that the drills enhanced the allies' ability to co-ordinate operations.
The five-day drills that ended Friday involved fighter jets, helicopters and 40 naval ships and submarines from the two countries training for potential North Korean aggression.
In an apparent show of force against North Korea, the United States also sent several of its advanced warplanes, including four F-22 and F-35 fighter jets and two B-1B long-range bombers, for an air show and exhibition in Seoul that began on Tuesday.
The drills came ahead of President Donald Trump's first official visit to Asia next month that's likely to be overshadowed by tensions with North Korea.
The allies regularly conduct joint military exercises that Pyongyang condemns as invasion rehearsals.
North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said Saturday that the latest naval drills have driven the situation of the Korean Peninsula to a "touch-and-go situation" and accused the allies of "getting frantic with the move to start a nuclear war."
The United States has been sending its strategic assets to the region more frequently for patrols or drills amid increased efforts by North Korea to expand its nuclear weapons program.
In recent months, North Korea has tested developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the U.S. mainland and conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date.
It also flew two powerful new mid-range missiles over Japan between threats to fire the same weapons toward Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory and military hub.