Joint US and South Korean drills draw angry response from Pyongyang

Caoimhe Toman WebFG News | 05 Dec, 2017 16:05 - Updated: 16:11 | | |

north korea kim jong un corea

The US and the South Korean air forces will beef-up and go ahead with their joint annual military exercises, a week after North Korea fired its most powerful test missile to date.

According to the US and South Korea, the aim of the exercises, known as Vigilant Ace, was to better prepare in case conflict did break out, with the aim of ensuring peace and security on the Korean peninsula.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an official from South Korea's Defense Ministry corrected his earlier statement to The Independent that the latest edition of the drills were to be the largest such exercises ever conducted. In total, 230 fighter jets were set to take part, including a large number of stealth aircraft.

North Korea responded via state media (KCNA), saying: "The US and South Korean puppet warmongers would be well advised to bear in mind that their DPRK-targeted military drill will be as foolish as an act precipitating their self-destruction."

In another sign of the rising tensions, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina stated on CBS: "It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea. I think it's now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea."

Echoing Graham, the White House's national security advisor HR McMaster recently said: "I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race to be able to solve this problem.

"There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict, but it is a race because he’s getting closer and closer, and there’s not much time left."

In parallel, reports indicated that Russian marines were also set to carry out manoeuvres in the area bordering the North, with both Moscow and Seoul having called for calm and condemning Pyongyang’s provocative missile tests.

Indeed, Russia went as far as warning that rising tensions could lead to conflict, with President Vladimir Putin calling for such a scenario to be avoided at all costs.

More news

08:09 Grainger picked for large Lewisham Council development

Lewisham Council has announced that Grainger has been selected as the preferred bidder for a partnership to develop and own 232 new purpose-built private rented homes, and provide a new ethical rental offer to Lewisham residents including long-term, family-friendly tenancies, Grainger announced on Thursday.

08:08 PZ Cussons warns over half-year operating profit

Imperial Leather and Original Source owner PZ Cussons warned on Thursday that first-half operating profits will be around 10% lower than the previous period due to reduced margins in some business units in Europe and Africa.

08:04 Polymetal takes top spot in major sustainability rankings

Polymetal International was celebrating on Thursday, after it was awarded the top rating in environmental responsibility among Russian metals and mining companies.

08:16 CMA fines Berendsen for cleanroom laundry competition pact

UK competition regulators have slapped a £1.7m fine on Berendsen and a rival laundry company after finding them guilty of collusion.

07:58 United Utilities says planning for new pricing regime is 'advanced'

United Utilities said its plans to meet new water pricing requirements were at an advanced stage after it consulted with customers.

07:57 IMI gobbles up Bimba in £148m deal

IMI has agreed to acquire Bimba, a manufacturer of pneumatic, hydraulic and electric motion solutions with an extensive distributor network principally servicing the North American industrial automation market, it announced on Thursday.

07:56 Ocado's sales growth hit by lack of delivery drivers

Ocado reported slightly slower sales growth in the fourth quarter as a lack of delivery drivers put the brakes on capacity, though previous falls in the online grocer's average basket size were arrested.

07:54 Sports Direct first-half profits slump 67%

Sports Direct posted a 67% drop in pre-tax profit for the half year on Thursday even as group revenue rose.

07:46 Ocado sales slow slightly, acquisition-hungry Bunzl buys Lightning Packaging

London open

07:40 London pre-open: Stocks seen lower as investors eye BoE, ECB policy announcements

London stocks were set for a slightly weaker open on Thursday as investors digested a rate hike by the Federal Reserve and looked ahead to more policy decisions from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.