World

N. Korea says S. Korea-US drills could lead to war

UNITED NATIONS: North Korea warned at the United Nations yesterday that the deployment of three US aircraft carriers in joint navy drills with South Korea was fuelling tensions that could lead to nuclear war.

North Korea's Ambassador to the UN Ja Song Nam said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that this was "the worst ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean peninsula".

The first such deployment of three US carriers since 2007 "is making it impossible to predict when nuclear war breaks out due to the US nuclear war equipment" taking up a "strike posture", he wrote.

The four-day exercise in the western Pacific involving the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt began on Saturday and included seven South Korean vessels, with three destroyers.

Mr Ja said the US had reactivated round-the-clock sorties by B-52 strategic bombers and was making frequent flights of B-1B and B-2 bombers in the air space of South Korea, AFP reported.

"The large-scale nuclear war exercises and blackmails... make one conclude that the option we have taken was the right one and we should go along the way to the last," he wrote.

Meanwhile, the top US negotiator with North Korea arrived in South Korea yesterday, a visit that comes as hopes rise for an easing of tensions on the peninsula in the wake of US President Donald Trump's visit and a lull in missile testing.

Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun will meet South Korean and international officials, according to the US State Department, although there is no indication his visit will include talks with the North, Reuters reported.

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