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

S. Korea-US Kick Off Joint Air Drills Amid Criticism from N. Korea

Amid growing tensions, Washington's National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster says the North's nuclear program is the "greatest immediate threat" to the United States - that the risk of war with North Korea is growing every day, and that Washington is in a race to find a solution.

The military exercises that began Monday involve 12,000 personnel and also include six F-22 Raptors, representing the largest deployment of the stealth fighters to South Korea, officials said.

Seoul and Washington agreed in October to enhance the rotational deployments of USA strategic assets to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

Part of the U.S. force taking part in the wargames, including a dozen of F-35B stealth jets, will fly from a Japanese airbase, where they have been stationed.

The US deployed over two dozen stealth fighter jets, including F-22s and F-35s, and two strategic B-1B bombers in the manoeuvers, which will conclude on Saturday.

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Pyongyang blamed U.S. President Donald Trump for raising tensions and warned at the weekend the Vigilant Ace exercise was pushing tensions on the Korean peninsula towards "a flare-up", according to North Korean state media.

Last week, North Korea launched a missile it claimed was capable of reaching the entire U.S. mainland, raising new fears about the country's nuclear arsenal and prompting the island USA state of Hawaii to sound its nuclear attack sirens for the first time since the Cold War.

"The Trump team is begging for nuclear war by staging an extremely unsafe nuclear gamble on the Korean peninsula", North Korea's Foreign Ministry stated in a statement on Saturday. "It's aimed at enhancing the all-weather, day and night combined air power operation capabilities of South Korea and the United States", said the South Korean defence ministry. The South Korea and US Air Forces hold annual Max Thunder exercises in the first half of the year and Vigilant Ace exercises in the second. "We are making efforts to resolve the North's nuclear issue peacefully with the worldwide community". Nikki Haley has recently threatened that the North Korean regime would be "utterly destroyed" in case of war - words Lavrov slammed as a "bloodthirsty tirade".

"It's insane to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea", Mr.

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