North Korea could nuke US, Europe 'within months'

Moon Jae-in Donald Trump bilateral missile treaty South Korean President ballistic missiles

North Korea said the launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday was to counter USA and South Korean military drills and was a first step in military action in the Pacific on "containing" the US island territory of Guam.

"The F-35 embodies our commitment to our allies and contributes to the overall security and stability of the Indo-Asia Pacific region", said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, commander, U.S.

His comments were published hours after the USA and South Korea conducted a mock bombing raid on the Korean Peninsula that was denounced by Pyongyang as a "rash act".

One is Andersen Air Force Base, from which the US B-1B bombers flew Thursday.

'The wild military acts of the enemies are nothing but the rash act of those taken aback by our rocket-launching drill, ' the state news agency reported.

The dueling military displays open up the risk that things will get worse as each side seeks to show it won't be intimidated.

Earlier this year, US citizen Otto Warmbier was sent home in a coma and later died after spending more than a year in North Korean detention.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denounced the launch as an "unprecedented, serious and grave threat" and agreed with US President Donald Trump to "further strengthen pressure against North Korea". South Korean government officials said the estimated explosive yield of last year's first test was much smaller than what even a failed hydrogen bomb detonation would produce. The diplomatic solutions being offered by U.S. are not being entertained by North Korea at any cost.

Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Ren Guoqiang told reporters that all parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that escalate tension.

A joint mediation effort put forward by China and Russian Federation would involve a mutual pause in both missile tests by North Korea as well as the joint South Korean-US military exercises by Seoul.

The latest tweet by the Republican U.S. president drew criticism from some quarters in Washington.

Last month, North Korea fired a potentially nuclear-capable midrange missile over northern Japan. Washington and Seoul faced calls to postpone or downsize this year's drills.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The North Korean People's Army takes part in a target-striking contest commanded by Kim Jong Un.

That followed the test launch of two long-range ballistic missiles in July in a sharply lofted trajectory that demonstrated a potential range of 10,000 km (6,000 miles) or more that would put many parts of the United States mainland within striking distance.

However, non-nuclear escalation is always a threat and the United States should show Pyongyang that while it may be able to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea, it will not tolerate risky behavior and escalation towards the U.S. or its allies.

Earlier in August, Pyongyang threatened to launch four missiles near the United States Pacific Guam island, as Trump warned that Pyongyang would face "fire and fury" if it carries action that threatens the USA and its allies. It also flight-tested a pair of developmental ICBMs in July.

North Korea has said its firing of a missile over Japan on Tuesday was "the first step" of military operations in the Pacific.

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