Published: Mon, December 04, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

War with North Korea 'closer every day'

War with North Korea 'closer every day'

The Hwasong-15 is believed to have reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile.

This is the first time that the U.S. has deployed six F-22 at one time in the Korean peninsula, which serves as another warning to Pyongyang after the latter launched a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile - its most sophisticated missile to date - on Wednesday.

The unit was originally to be launched in 2019, but the military expedited the move because North Korea "continues to raise regional tensions with its ballistic missile launches and nuclear experiments", the report said.

Since 2006, North Korea has carried out six nuclear tests, including two a year ago.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korean officials made similar comments last month.

The exercises come less than a week after Pyongyang fired off an intercontinental ballistic missile it claims can reach the "whole" mainland of the United States.

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After the missile was tested, Trump tweeted Wednesday that "additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea".

"North Korea is continuing to pursue its ICBM in a methodical and pragmatic manner, making progress in incremental steps", said Joseph Bermudez from 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project.

While some USA military officials have referred to the missile launched Tuesday as a "KN 22" - a designation signaling the launch involves a new type of ICBM - other officials urge caution in categorizing the missile. A minimum of nine votes are needed to win such a vote and China, Russia, the United States, Britain and France can not wield their vetoes. "I think we're really running out of time. They will be the first victims if a war is started on the Korean peninsula".

The drill, dubbed "Vigilant Ace", will take place from Monday to Friday, and feature F-22 stealth fighters and F-35 aircraft.

"The facts above evidently show who is the real nuclear war maniac and the "nuclear demon" that disrupts and destroys peace of the Korean peninsula and the world", the statement added, the North's official news agency KCNA reported.

Kim first made the threat in September in response to Trump's United Nations speech threatening to destroy the North and mocking him as "Little Rocket Man".

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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