- North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the US had “nuclear war mania” in a statement read on state TV over the weekend.
- The statement came as US stealth fighters moved to the Korean Peninsula for a US-South Korea aerial drill, the largest in history.
- The air exercise, dubbed “Vigilant Ace,” began Monday.
Tensions escalated along the Korean Peninsula over the weekend as US stealth fighters prepared for a joint military drill with South Korea, with North Korea accusing the US of having “nuclear war mania.”
North Korea made several statements about actions taken by the US over the weekend.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement read on state TV that President Donald Trump and his administration were “begging for nuclear war” by engaging in what the statement referred to as an “extremely dangerous nuclear gamble,” CNN reported.
The statement also said that if the Korean Peninsula and the world were to be pushed to nuclear war, the US would be “fully responsible” because of its “reckless nuclear war mania.”
Then on Sunday, commentary run by state TV called this week’s US-South Korea joint air exercises a “dangerous provocation” pushing the region “to the brink of a nuclear war,” according to CNN. North Korean media regularly threatens the US and its allies and blames the US for tensions on the peninsula.
The US and its ally South Korea began their largest cooperative air exercise in history, dubbed Vigilant Ace, on Monday.
The US Air Force said in a statement that F-22 and F-35 stealth jets had moved into South Korea over the weekend in preparation for the joint drill. About 230 aircraft and 12,000 US personnel are expected to participate in the weeklong exercise, which will include more stealth jets than ever before.
According to the US Air Force, the move is designed to boost the “combat effectiveness” of the alliance.
The White House national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, on Saturday said the chances for nuclear war on the peninsula were growing, CNN reported.
“I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem,” McMaster said in a conference in California, when asked whether North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch last week had increased the chance of war.
McMaster also said North Korea represented the “the greatest immediate threat to the United States.”