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USA bomber joins drills as United Nations official arrives in North Korea

08 December 2017

North Korea threatened Sunday that if the United States continues to conduct joint military operations with South Korea "nuclear war [may break out] at any moment", Sky News reported.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen markedly in recent months after North Korea's latest missile and nuclear tests, conducted in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions and global condemnation.

Two US B-1B heavy bombers joined large-scale combat drills over South Korea on Thursday amid warnings from North Korea that the exercises and US threats have made the outbreak of war "an established fact". "When we overcome this ongoing crisis, I am sure it will turn into an opportunity to dramatically improve the South-North relations", he added.

North Korea issued threats in advance of a planned aerial drill on December 4 involving US and South Korean forces in the region, but America and its ally have responded by going right on ahead with it.

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"Series of violent war remarks coming from the USA high-level politicians amid such circumstances have made an outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula an established fact", the spokesperson said.

"We hope that all relevant parties could exercise restraint and refrain from heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula and provoking each other".

Russia also has communication channels open with North Korea and is ready to exert its influence on the country, the RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov as saying on Tuesday. "We are ready to support that, we are ready to take part in facilitating such negotiations", Lavrov reportedly said.

North Korea says war is now inevitable between Washington and Pyongyang.

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South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said last night's drills simulated land strikes at a military field near South Korea's eastern coast during a drill with US and South Korean fighter jets. The Pentagon has mounted repeated shows of force after North Korean tests.

And now more than ever, both sides are deterred from conflict.

"We keep stressing that the current situation on the Korean Peninsula is tense and sensitive", foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told media during a regular briefing.

The rising tensions coincide with a rare visit to North Korea by United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, the highest-level UN official to visit North Korea since 2012. Feltman met North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho on Thursday, North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.

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USA bomber joins drills as United Nations official arrives in North Korea