US, South Korea display military might irking North Korea

US, South Korea display military might irking North Korea

As the United States and South Korea prepared for a joint naval exercise next week, North Korean officials on Friday renewed their threat to launch ballistic missiles near Guam, a USA territory in the western Pacific.

Thousands of USA military personnel remain stationed on the island.

The U.S. military said in a separate statement it conducted drills with Japanese fighters after the exercise with South Korea, making it the first time U.S. bombers have conducted training with fighters from both Japan and South Korea at night. The North Korean government views them as a dress rehearsal for an invasion - even as the USA insists they are purely defensive in nature.

As long as the USA maintains its pressure on North Korea, it will not negotiate over its nuclear weapons arsenal, the Hermit Kingdom's foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho told Russia's TASS News Agency.

North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test in recent weeks as it advances quickly toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland. USA and South Korean warplanes also will join the exercise.

This week, officials in Washington and Seoul have said that the U.S. and South Korean navies will stage a combined Maritime Counter Special Operation Force (MCSOF) exercise, as well as a drill with U.S. Navy carrier strike groups (CSG), in waters off the east and west coast of South Korea.

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"The US military action hardens our determination that the US should be tamed with fire", the statement added.

Yesterday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said there's "great concern" about Americans who live in Guam.

The maneuvers are meant to reinforce the "communications, interoperability and cooperation" between the two armies in the face of North Korea's weapons development. But Trump has added to tensions in recent weeks by employing similarly tough talk, threatening to "totally destroy" or rain down "fire and fury" on North Korea.

Trump also reaffirmed his confidence in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in response to a question about reported conflicts between the two on the North Korean issue.

Kelly added that Americans should be concerned that the North is getting closer to achieving the ability to hit the mainland US with its missiles. Over 60 percent said they do have confidence in "top national security and diplomatic officials" to handle the situation.

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