SEOUL: 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. The comments came as White House National Security Adviser H R McMaster warned of the “increasing” possibility of war with the impoverished but nuclear-armed North. The five-day Vigilant Ace drill — involving some 230 aircraft including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters — begins on Monday, five days after the North test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile believed capable of hitting the US mainland in a fresh challenge to President Donald Trump.
The North’s ruling party Rodong newspaper slammed the upcoming drill. “It is an open, all-out provocation against the DPRK, which may lead to a nuclear war any moment,” it said in an editorial on Sunday, using the North’s official name. “The US and South Korean puppet warmongers would be well advised to bear in mind that their DPRK-targeted military drill will be as foolish as an act precipitating their self-destruction,” it said. The commentary was published a day after Pyongyang’s foreign ministry accused the Trump administration of “begging for nuclear war” by staging what it called the reckless air drills. McMaster said the possibility of war with the North was “increasing every day”. — AFP