'Grave provocation': North Korea condemns air-war games

Marie Harrington
December 4, 2017

At the end of November the U.S. unveiled fresh sanctions against the North, which it said were created to stop its funding of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

News about the launch comes within days of North Korea launching a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea on Sunday blasted the United States and South Korea as "warmongers" on the eve of their largest-ever joint air exercise, saying it could trigger a nuclear war. "We sternly warned that the North has all responsibility for inter-Korean tensions and a threat to the world peace", the resolution read.

Some 230 aircraft and 12,000 personnel from the US and South Korea are participating in the weeklong exercise, according to a US Air Force statement.

Graham said he has had extensive discussions with the Trump administration about the situation.

US officials noted, however, that North Korea has not proved it has an accurate guidance system for an ICBM or a capable re-entry vehicle. -South Korea air exercise, with Pyongyang calling it an "all-out provocation" that could lead to nuclear conflict as a US lawmaker warned of a growing likelihood of "preemptive war" on the divided peninsula.

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The Rodong Sinmun commentary said the aerial wargames show "the enemies' moves to start a nuclear war have reached a unsafe stage".

It flew 600 miles (950 km) before splashing down in waters near Japan and is potentially capable of striking targets as far as 8,100 (13,000 km), which would put Washington within reach. "And I don't mean 'Big for North Korea.' Only a few countries can produce missiles of this size, and North Korea just joined the club".

A solid-fuel system for an ICBM would be a significant development and could allow the North Koreans to transport and launch a missile more quickly, compared to a liquid-fuel system that requires lengthy preparation.

North Korean monitoring group 38 North said the tremors could be an indication of "Tired Mountain Syndrome" - a condition where rock becomes increasingly permeable following a below-ground nuclear blast.

Western analysts said it is more likely the truck was one of about half a dozen vehicles obtained years ago from China, which North Korea has modified since then.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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