-South Korea air exercise, with Pyongyang calling it an "all-out provocation" that could lead to nuclear conflict as a USA lawmaker warned of a growing likelihood of "preemptive war" on the divided peninsula.
The US and South Korea will launch a major air force exercise involving hundreds of aircraft on Monday, a move denounced by North Korea for bringing the region to the "brink of nuclear war".
"Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U.S., the USA will have to accept full responsibility for it", North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.More news: South Africa triumph in opening World Rugby Sevens Series event in Dubai
McMaster said the possibility of war with the North was "increasing every day". Throughout the training about 12,000 personnel will demonstrate wartime defenses and airstrikes on mock North Korean nuclear and missile targets.
A South Korean defense official confirmed to CNN on Sunday that the United States is sending dozens of high-end fighters, bombers and support aircraft to the drills. They will be joined by more F-35bs - the Marine Corps version, based in Japan - B-1 bombers and E-3 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft that will fly in to join the wargames and then return to bases elsewhere, the official said.
North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation. The exercises come after the North fired an intercontinental ballistic missile last Wednesday.
The initial analysis shows Tuesday's launch likely involved a two-stage missile with a non-explosive dummy warhead, the official said.More news: Former Yemen rebel ally Saleh calls for talks with Saudi Arabia
The Hwasong-15 is believed to have reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile.
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He pushed China to do more, including cutting off North Korean oil imports. "However, the quake could have been caused by geological changes created from the recent nuclear explosion", said an agency official who asked not to be named.More news: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV series heading to Netflix