North Korea: US carrier groups raise nuclear war threat

The presence of three U.S. aircraft carriers off the Korean Peninsula is pushing the region closer to nuclear war, according to a North Korean letter to the United Nations secretary-general, CNN reports.

The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and USS Theodore Roosevelt all took part in the exercise, which was said to have occurred in the Western Pacific Ocean, along with a number of vessels from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force.

But Pyongyang has seen any USA military exercises as a threat.

Admiral Gregory Harris, commander of the Nimitz's strike group, said the training exercise sends a "powerful message" to North Korea.

Admiral Harris, however, warned Kim Jong-un the USA is ready to strike but would prefer a peaceful solution.

"But, that peaceful resolution is backed up by having the ability to do what is necessary should that become needed".

Along with the three carrier groups, he said, the United States has reactivated round-the-clock sorties with nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers "which existed during the Cold War times".

The exercises, which also have involved US B-1 bombers, are creating "the worst ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean Peninsula", North Korea's UN Ambassador Ja Song Nam said in a letter to the secretary-general on Monday.

This is the first time in 10 years that a team of three carrier strike force groups practiced together in the Western Pacific, since Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 in Guam.

He didn't elaborate on what "the last" might be, but North Korea has launched ballistic missiles that have the potential to strike the United States mainland, and it recently conducted its largest-ever underground nuclear explosion.

Tensions between the USA and North Korea have been sharply escalating in recent months with both sides indicating that they will not hesitate to engage in military action.

Apart from the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 11 U.S. Aegis ships and seven South Korean warships, including two Aegis destroyers, were set to participate in the drills.

Seoul is keeping combat ready against possible provocations from Kim's regime as tensions continue to simmer on the Korean peninsula.

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