North Korea has relocated its warplanes and bolstered air defenses along its eastern coast after accusing President Trump of declaring war.
The move, which was reported by analysts in Seoul, puts the planes within striking distance of US bombers which have been conducting drills alongside aircraft from the South in international airspace near North Korea.
Pyongyang had previously said it has the right to shoot down American warplanes whether or not they had entered the country’s airspace.
Kim Jong-un has redeployed North Korea fighter jets and bolstered air defenses along the country’s east coast, close to where American bombers have been performing drills
The North previously said it has the right to shoot down American bombers whether or not they entered the country’s airspace after accusing President Trump of ‘declaring war’
The inflamed rhetoric came after President Trump told the UN general assembly that America would have ‘no choice but to totally destroy North Korea’ if forced to defend itself an its allies.
That threat brought an unprecedented personal response from Kim Jong-un, who called Trump a ‘mentally deranged dotard’ and raised the prospect of carrying out a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.
The war of words showed no sign of slowing down on Tuesday as Trump started the day by tweeting that North Korea had tortured arrested American student Otto Warmbier ‘beyond belief’.
Warmbier was jailed in the hermit state in 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster while on holiday in Pyongyang, before being handed back to the US in a coma earlier this year. He died shortly afterwards.
Medical examiners have been unable to determine how he fell into the coma, but say there were no obvious signs of torture.
While Trump has repeatedly stated that a military solution is not his preferred choice, international observers and world leaders are nervous that heightened tensions could unintentionally spill over into armed conflict.
Ri Yong Ho, North Korea’s foreign minister, made the claims to the United Nations amid fears that a war of words between Trump and Kim could spill over into conflict
World leaders have warned there would be ‘no winners’ from a war on the Korean Peninsula as they urged for calm (pictured, military drills in South Korea this week)
On Tuesday Russia warned that war on the Korean peninsula would be ‘catastrophic’ as China and South Korea urged Trump and Kim to back down.
The Kremlin’s foreign ministry said it is working ‘behind the scenes’ on finding a political solution to the North Korea crisis.
Government official Mikhail Ulyanovwho added that the current US approach to North Korea represents little more than a dead end and that the use of sanctions against Kim had almost been exhausted.
Meanwhile Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said war on the Korean peninsula would have no winner.
His South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha added: ‘It is imperative that we, Korea and the US together, manage the situation in order to prevent further escalation of tensions or any kind of accidental military clashes which can quickly go out of control.’
Counting the human cost of war on the Korean Peninsula, retired Air Force general Rob Givens said 20,000 people would like die each day in the South as long as the conflict continued.
The estimate is based on Pentagon predictions, and does not account for deaths in the North, or the potential used of nuclear weapons.
‘There is only one way that this war ends. With North Korea’s defeat — but at what cost?,’ Givens said.