U.S. bomber joins drills as United Nations official arrives in North Korea

US Military Conducts Simulated Bombing Drills with B-1B Supersonic Jet Over Korean Peninsula

US B-1B bombers participate in joint drill in South Korea

The military exercises, called "Vigilant Ace", are created to enhance joint readiness and operational capability of U.S. extended deterrence, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

Two B-1B Lancer strategic bombers on Thursday conducted drills on the western coast of the Korean peninsula, a South Korean military officer confirmed to NK News.

China's vice minister of Foreign Affairs Zheng Zeguang was to meet Matt Pottinger, the head of Asian affairs at the White House's National Security Council, on Thursday to discuss North Korea and trade, a senior United States official said.

The United States and South Korea began the largest-ever Vigilant ACE drills on Monday, mobilizing 230 aircraft and 12,000 personnel.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet takes off as part of a joint aerial drills called "Vigilant Ace" between the U.S. and South Korea at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek on December 6.

The ongoing five-day drills involve more than 200 aircraft, including six U.S. F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighters.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday expressed concerns over the continued deployment of US strategic assets.

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has urged the Pentagon to start moving US military dependants, such as spouses and children, out of South Korea, saying conflict with North Korea was getting close.

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"We hope all relevant parties can maintain calm and restraint and take steps to alleviate tensions and not provoke each other", he said.

Wednesday also saw a spokesperson for the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs say Pyongyang would not avoid a war with Washington, criticizing recent "reckless remarks" by high-level American politicians.

The JCS said that the war games demonstrated the strong will and capability for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, Yonhap reported.

"Should the USA miscalculate our patience and light the fuse for a nuclear war, we will surely make the USA dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthened".

USA national security adviser H.R. McMaster said at the weekend the possibility of war was "increasing every day".

But amid North Korea's and the US's escalating rhetoric and military pressure, one option has emerged that's only slightly less desirable than all-out combat: perpetual brinkmanship.

"The remaining question now is: when will the war break out?" it said in a statement carried by North Korea's official KCNA news agency. "The outbreak of war is not in any side's interest".

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