Three US carriers lead naval drill aimed at North Korea

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae In at a news conference in Seoul.  AP

President Donald Trump was due to land in Hanoi on Saturday, as North Korea slammed his "warmonger" Asia tour, saying it will only accelerate Pyongyang's push for a full-fledged nuclear deterrent. In a statement carried by the regime's state news agency, North Korea's foreign ministry said Trump (quote) "laid bare his true nature as destroyer of world peace and stability and begged for a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula". Following his "lunatic remarks" made in September, Trump "made his conceived attempt yet again to alienate our people from the government and keep up rivalry between the DPRK and the global society", the spokesman continued.

The US and North Korea have always been engaged in back-and-forth barbs over the latter's threat of a nuclear attack.

The US and South Korea on Saturday started joint naval exercises that will involve three US aircraft carriers in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea.

"The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger", Trump said about North Korea during an address at South Korea's National Assembly in Seoul earlier this week.

The three carriers will be likely together in the drills around Monday, according to a South Korean military official, who didn't want to be named, citing office rules. The Aegis technology refers to missile tracking and guidance.

He called on nations to stop financing and trading with North Korea.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the four-day strike force exercise is "aimed at enhancing deterrence against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats".

The goal of the exercise was to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's ability to "operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force efforts", the navy said, adding that the three carrier strike groups will conduct training including "air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishment at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuver".

It's the first time since a 2007 exercise near Guam that three US carrier strike groups are operating together in the Western Pacific, according to the US Navy's 7th Fleet.

Seoul and Washington have recently carried out a series of drills to show off their military heft in response to the North's saber-rattling, such as its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and a series of missile launches.

On Saturday, Kim's government responded by accusing Trump of trying to demonize North Korea, keep it apart from the worldwide community and undermine its government.

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