Sunday, 3 December 2017

Kim Jong Un thanks factory workers that built the tyres for a vehicle used to transport North Korea's new ballistic missile

State newspaper declares the US and South Korea's largest ever co-operative air exercise as "an open, all-out provocation".

Mr Kim continues to flout international sanctions

The two countries are set to begin their largest ever co-operative air exercise - dubbed Vigilant Ace - on Monday, with 230 aircraft, including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters, ready to take flight.

It is scheduled to last five days and comes less than a week after the rogue state's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test, which Pyongyang claimed was capable of hitting the US mainland.

In an editorial on Sunday, North Korea's ruling party Rodong newspaper said the US-South Korea drill was "an open, all-out provocation" and that it "may lead to a nuclear war at any moment".

The piece - which came shortly after Kim Jong Un enjoyed a visit to a military tyre factory - added: "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."

Mr Kim's factory visit saw him thank workers who had built the tyres for the huge vehicle used to transport the tested Hwasong-15 missile this week, which had prompted a public rally and fireworks in Pyongyang as the country continued to flout international sanctions.

North Korea has been eligible for even harsher sanctions since US President Donald Trump declared it a designated state sponsor of terrorism last month, and White House National Security Advisor H.R McMaster has admitted the newspaper editorial's warning of war was credible.

"I think it's increasing every day, which means that we are in a race to be able to solve this problem," he said at a forum on Saturday.

"There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict, but it is a race because he's getting closer and closer, and there's not much time left."

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