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North Korea: US 'begging' for war with 'largest ever' joint aerial drill

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US South Korea launch large-scale air drills amid spiraling nuclear tension

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated over the weekend as U.S. stealth fighters moved into the region and official sources from both North Korea and the United States said the chances of war are growing.

A natural quake of magnitude 2.5 was detected in North Korea on Saturday close to where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, Seoul's weather agency said.

Tensions have heated up in recent months over the north's continued development of its nuclear and missile programme, in spite of global condemnation and worldwide sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thanked workers during a visit to a factory that built the tires for a huge vehicle used to transport a new intercontinental ballistic missile that was test-launched this week, the country's media reported yesterday.

It is scheduled to last five days and comes less than a week after the rogue state's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test, which Pyongyang claimed was capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. The latest test was the highest and longest any North Korean missile had flown, landing in the sea near Japan.

"What matters is the fact that the drill simulating an actual war is to be staged at a time when insane President Trump is running wild", a commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency said.

South Korea US kick off air drills
South Korea US kick off air drills

Washington is battling to maintain worldwide solidarity in the face of the North nuclear threat after Russian Federation warned that sanctions have failed and China sidestepped talk of an oil embargo.

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Meanwhile, South Korean media showed six US Air Force F-22 Raptors, Washington's top-of-the-line stealth fighters, arriving in South Korea on Saturday to participate in the Vigilant Ace 18 air combat exercise, an annual US-South Korea drill the US Air Force says is created to boost the "combat effectiveness" of the alliance. The United States has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.

He repeated Kim's warning that the North would respond with the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history".

"We're asking China not to do us or anybody else a favor", he said.

But analysts remain unconvinced that the North has mastered the technology required to launch and direct a missile, and ensure it survives the hard re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

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