03:50 GMT21 February 2020
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    Tensions on the Korean Peninsula reached fever pitch over the weekend with the arrival of six US F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets in South Korea on Saturday for joint military drills.

    The deployment of the fighter jets to the region comes days after Pyongyang launched a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile reportedly capable of traveling some 8000 miles and reaching Washington DC. Military experts say chances of war are growing at an exponential rate, with both US and North Korean authorities throwing gasoline into the fire.

    On Saturday, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) said in a written statement that US President Donald Trump and his administration were "begging for nuclear war" by "staging an extremely dangerous nuclear gamble on the Korean peninsula."

    The DPRK spokesman described Trump as a "nuclear demon" and a "disruptor of global peace."

    On Sunday, Pyongyang's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), called the US-South Korea Vigilant Ace 18 joint air exercises scheduled for Monday to Friday a "dangerous provocation" pushing the region "to the brink of a nuclear war."

    White House national security adviser HR McMaster on Saturday told an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, that the potential for war with the pariah state is increasing day by day.

    "There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict, but it is a race because [Kim Jong Un] is getting closer and closer, and there's not much time left," McMaster intoned.

    The US is sending dozens of high-tech fighters, bombers and support aircraft to the annual US-South Korea air combat exercises. The wargames, aimed to boost the "combat effectiveness" of the alliance, will be held December 4-8.

    US top-of-the-line F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters are believed to pose the biggest threat to Pyongyang. While the DPRK military maintains capable anti-air weaponry, their radar systems would be unable to detect stealth fighters before a strike on their defensive systems, analysts claim.

    Cloaked in the world's most advanced stealth coating, F-22s and F-35s would likely be called upon to lead a potential air campaign against Pyongyang should the situation escalate to the point of using military force.

    Meanwhile, Rodong Sinmun vowed that the stealth fighters "will not escape the fate of a tiger moth," adding that provocations against the DPRK could "lead to a nuclear war any moment."


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    stealth fighter, F-22 Raptor, F-35, Air Force, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States, South Korea
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