(CNN) – Tensions on the Korean peninsula intensified over the weekend as US fighters moved into the region and official sources from North Korea and the US. UU They said that the possibilities of war were growing.
The bellicose rhetoric of North Korea came in two phases: on Saturday, a statement from its Foreign Ministry said that US President Donald Trump is "calling for a nuclear war" through what he called a "nuclear bet" extremely dangerous in the Korean Peninsula "";
A day later, a commentary by Pyongyang's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, published by Korea's official Central News Agency, said the joint US-South Korea air exercises scheduled Monday through Friday are a "dangerous provocation" "that pushes the region" to the edge of a nuclear war ".
From the US side, White House national security adviser HR McMaster told a conference in California on Saturday that the chances of war on the Korean Peninsula are growing daily.
"I think it's increasing every day, which means we're in a race, actually, we're in a race to be able to solve this problem," McMaster told an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley .
McMaster made the comment when asked if North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday had increased the chances of war.
"There are ways to deal with this problem except the armed conflict, but it's a race because it's getting closer and closer, and there's not much time left," said McMaster, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
With each missile launch or nuclear test, Kim has improved the capabilities of his country, said McMaster.
The air combat exercise begins
Meanwhile, the South Korean media showed six F-22 Raptors from the US Air Force, the best stealth fighters in Washington, who arrived in South Korea on Saturday to participate in the Vigilant Ace 18 the aerial combat exercise, an annual simulation between EE. UU and South Korea that according to the US Air Force UU is designed to boost the "combat effectiveness" of the alliance.
About 230 aircraft and 12,000 people from the US UU And South Korea are participating in the week-long exercise, according to a statement from the US Air Force. UU
A South Korean defense official confirmed to CNN on Sunday that the United States is sending dozens of fighter planes, bombers and high-end support aircraft to the drills.
"The American aircraft that has landed in South Korea includes six F-22s, six F-35s, six EA-18Gs," the official said. "More than 10 F-15Cs and F-16s have also been deployed for the drill."
These aircraft will remain in South Korea during the week. They will be joined by more F-35bs, the Marine Corps version, based in Japan, B-1 bombers and airborne warning and control system E-3 (AWACS) aircraft that will fly to join the war games and They will then return to bases in other places, the official said.
But the poachers that experts say are the biggest threat to Pyongyang.
Covered with the most advanced invisible coating in the world, the F-22s and F-35s would likely be summoned to lead a potential air campaign against North Korea if the situation increased to the point of using military force, according to experts.
While the North Korean military maintains capable anti-aircraft weapons, its radar systems would be unable to detect poachers before an attack on those defensive systems.
Rodong Sinmun's comment said that the aerial war games show that "the movements of the enemies to start a nuclear war have reached a dangerous stage".
"It is an open and total provocation against the DPRK, which can lead to a nuclear war at any time," he continued.
But he also gave bravado in the presence of the F-22 and F-35.
"The stealth fighters that both enemies brag about will not escape the fate of a tiger moth," said North Korea's comment.
Threat of North Korea to the continental part of the United States
The exercises come less than a week after Pyongyang fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that it claims can reach the continent's "totality" U.S.
A US official said on Saturday that the technical badysis of that missile's flight is ongoing, but that "the North Koreans had problems with re-entry."
It is likely that the ballistic missile, fired higher than any previous North Korean missile, would break when it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, the official said.
Still, the ability of the new missile to fly higher and higher than others in the past indicates North Korea's intention to develop weapons capable of attacking the US. UU
At the California forum, McMaster said it was extremely unlikely that Kim would change his behavior "without some significant new actions in the form of much more severe sanctions" and "full compliance with existing sanctions."
He pushed China to do more, including the elimination of oil imports from North Korea.
"We ask China not to do us or anyone else a favor," he said. "We ask China to act in the interests of China, as they should, and we believe more and more that it is in China's urgent interest to do more."
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