04 December, 2017
The comments came as White House National Security Adviser HR McMaster warned of the "increasing" possibility of war with the impoverished but nuclear-armed North.
The war games follow reports on Saturday of the establishment by South Korea's military of a "decapitation unit" tasked with neutralising the North's leadership - including Kim Jong-un - and destroying nuclear and missile facilities if war breaks out. "And whether it's a success or a failure isn't as important as understanding that over the years he's been learning from failures, improving and thereby increasing his threat to all of us". On Wednesday, 29 November, the North fired the long-range missile which flew about 950kms and touched an altitude of 4,475kms during the almost hour-long flight before hitting the sea waters off the Japan coast.
Cloaked with the world's most advanced stealth coating, the F-22s and F-35s would likely be called upon to lead a potential air campaign against North Korea should the situation escalate to the point of using military force, experts say. The unit is made of about 1,000 elite soldiers and is expected to act as a strong deterrent against the reclusive Pyongyang regime.
The United Nations Security Council is set to meet later this month to discuss North Korea's nuclear programme after the reclusive country tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching anywhere in the continental USA earlier this week.
"They will be the first victims if a war is started on the Korean peninsula".
China and Russian Federation objected to that idea in the latest United Nations sanctions resolution. "I think we're really running out of time".
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North Korea reacted angrily on Sunday to the air manoeuvres, accusing the US and South Korea of a "grave military provocation" that will "push the already acute situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of nuclear war".
U.S. Air Force aircraft arrived in South Korea on Saturday to participate in a joint aerial drill just a week after North Korea launched a ballistic missile.
Vice Chairman Pak Kwang-Ho of the party's decision-making Central Committee told the crowd that, after Wednesday's test launch, "now no one can infringe our sovereignty and rights to survive and develop", according to the daily.
The ICBM Hwasong-15 type weaponry system used in Wednesday's test is an intercontinental ballistic rocket tipped with super-large heavy warhead capable of striking the whole mainland of the USA, the North said.
A landmark 2014 United Nations report on North Korean human rights concluded that North Korean security chiefs - and possibly Kim himself - should face justice for overseeing a state-controlled system of Nazi-style atrocities.