N Korea labels US-South Korea drill 'dangerous'

During a speech in St. Charles, Mo., on November 29, President Trump referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "Little Rocket Man" and "sick puppy".

The five-day Vigilant Ace drill - involving about 230 aircraft, including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters - begins today, five days after the North test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile believed capable of hitting the US mainland in a fresh challenge to US President Donald Trump.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a foreign policy hawk, told CBS' "Face the Nation" the United States moves closer to "preemptive war" with every new North Korean missile or nuclear test.

The months-long nuclear standoff between Kim and Trump has fueled concerns of another conflict, but even some Trump advisers say U.S. military options are limited when Pyongyang could launch an artillery barrage on the South Korean capital, Seoul, which is about 50km from the border and home to 10 million people. "And I don't mean 'Big for North Korea.' Only a few countries can produce missiles of this size, and North Korea just joined the club".

Previous U.S. administrations have failed to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and a sophisticated missile program.

Tal Inbar, the head of the space research center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, observed on Twitter that the reentry vehicle, or the tip of the missile that must return down to earth, was "HUGE".

In a call with Trump on Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the missile launched this week was North Korea's most advanced so far, but it was unclear whether Pyongyang had the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and it still needed to prove other things, such as its re-entry technology.

Michael Elleman, a missile expert, told the Associated Press that Hwasong-15's estimated 13,000-kilometer (8,100-mile) range assumes a payload of around 150 kilograms (330 pounds).

"Anything beyond that is not the priority at this point", she said, responding to a question on whether regime change was on the administration's agenda after Trump's recent tweets and a speech by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

A photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows launching of the Hwasong-15 missile.

In his second telephone call with Trump, the South Korean leader was quoted as saying the North's claim to have completed the development of an ICBM has not been confirmed. It showed a capacity to improve upon its existing designs and to design new missiles independently. We do think they could do more with the oil. They got it no matter how badly we wanted to stop them. "We are stuck. We have to adapt to North Korea as a nuclear power, and we will actually".

"It is an open, all-out provocation against the DPRK, which may lead to a nuclear war any moment", it said in an editorial Sunday, using the North's official name. Trump, who has previously said the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies from the nuclear threat, has also struggled to contain Pyongyang since taking office in January. "We're really asking them to please restrain more of the oil, not cut it off completely", Tillerson said at the State Department.


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