US and South Korea kicked off their largest-ever joint air drill

Vastavam web:  The US and South Korea today kicked off their largest ever joint air exercise, an operation North Korea has labelled an “all-out provocation”, days after Pyongyang fired its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile.The five-day Vigilant Ace drill involving 230 aircraft, including F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters, and tens of thousands of troops began Monday morning, Seoul’s air force said.The annual exercise comes five days after the nuclear- armed North test-fired a new ICBM, which it says brings the whole of the United States within range.
As tensions surged, US Senator Lindsey Graham, an influential Republican and foreign policy hawk, warned that the US was moving closer to “preemptive war” with the North.”The preemption is becoming more likely as their technology matures. Every missile test, every underground test of a nuclear weapon, means the marriage is more likely,” he said.Graham’s remarks echoed those of Trump’s National Security Adviser HR McMaster, who told a security forum on Saturday that the potential for war with the North “is increasing every day.”Analysts agree that the latest test showed a big improvement in potential range, but say it was likely achieved using a dummy warhead that would have been quite light.
They say a missile carrying a much heavier nuclear warhead would struggle to travel as far.They are also sceptical that Pyongyang has mastered the sophisticated technology required to protect such a warhead from the extreme temperatures and stresses encountered as the missile hurtles back to Earth.The months-long nuclear standoff between Kim and Trump — as well as their trading of personal insults — has fuelled concerns of another conflict, more than six decades after 1950-53 Korean War that left much of the peninsula in ruins.