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How to negotiate with North Korea

S. Korea-US ready for air force joint drills against N. Korea's missile provocations

"The Trump team is begging for a nuclear war by staging an extremely risky nuclear gamble on the Korean Peninsula", he said.

A natural quake of magnitude 2.5 was detected in North Korea on Saturday close to where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, Seoul's weather agency said.

At the end of November the USA unveiled fresh sanctions against the North, which it said were created to stop its funding of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

His comments came three days after North Korea carried out its first ballistic missile test in two months, in defiance of United Nations resolutions.

Kim Jong-Un's regime conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test at the site on 3 September, damaging geological structures in the area, the agency said.

The five-day Vigilant Ace drill - involving some 230 aircraft including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters - begins on Monday, five days after the North test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile believed capable of hitting the USA mainland in a fresh challenge to President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, 29 November, the North fired the long-range missile which flew about 950kms and touched an altitude of 4,475kms during the almost hour-long flight before hitting the sea waters off the Japan coast.

"What matters is the fact that the drill simulating an actual war is to be staged at a time when insane President Trump is running wild", a commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation. The other was the "testing of a long-range ICBM", the implication being this had been achieved with the most recent launch.

Russian Federation and China have proposed a roadmap for defusing the crisis in the region.

The months-long nuclear standoff between Kim and Trump has fuelled concerns of another conflict, after the 1950-53 Korean War left much of the peninsula in ruin.

I gave this talk about strategic confidence, it's really an element of reclaiming our strategic confidence, is having confidence in what unifies us as Americans.

"More than 230 fighters from the US air force bases in Japan and South Korea including its latest stealth fighters F-22 Raptor and F-35, the USA major strategic assets as well as some 12,000 US troops are to participate in the said drill", said the spokesman.

"But what we want to do is convince others, it is in their interest to do more", McMaster said.

But analysts remain unconvinced that the North has mastered the technology required to launch and direct a missile, and ensure it survives the hard re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.