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McMaster: Potential for war with North Korea 'increasing every day'

04 December 2017

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

North Korea said the United States is "begging" for a nuclear war by planning the "largest-ever" joint aerial drill with South Korea just after concluding an exercise with nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. "We sternly warned that the North has all responsibility for inter-Korean tensions and a threat to the world peace", the resolution read.

The South Korean military has launched a special unit to "decapitate" North Korea's leadership, including the country's powerful leader Kim Jong-un, in case a war breaks out in the Korean peninsula.

Trump has said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Pyongyang's "provocative actions", and he vowed that additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea.

Graham said he has had extensive discussions with the Trump administration about the situation.

It flew 600 miles (950 km) before splashing down in waters near Japan and is potentially capable of striking targets as far as 8,100 (13,000 km), which would put Washington within reach.

"Despite persistent sanctions and pressure by the U.S. and other hostile forces, my government concentrates all its efforts on improving people's livelihood and providing them with a better future", the North Korean Permanent Mission to the United Nations said in a statement on 14 November.

It is likely the ballistic missile, fired higher than any previous North Korean missile, broke up as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere, the official said. "The combination of those two things means it really is a new, more capable missile".

That the missile is likely longer and heavier than its predecessors is evidenced by the sheer size of the transporter, which had nine axles instead of eight previously seen in North Korean transporters, he said.

"We are in a race to be able to solve this problem", McMaster said.

"I would need to see a bit more differences to fully believe they made this themselves", Dave Schmerler, a research associate at the James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, said of the launch transport vehicle.

McMaster: Potential for war with North Korea 'increasing every day'