N Korea brands Trump 'warmonger' as his Asia tour moves to Hanoi

US South Korea joint military drills begin in Western Pacific

Three U.S. Navy aircraft carriers joined South Korea forces on Saturday to begin joint naval exercises in the waters off the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against North Korea as President Donald Trump ends his five-country Asia tour.

The Rodong Sinmun on Sunday issued an article titled "Trump laid bare his true nature as destroyer of the world peace in his Asia tour", criticizing his remarks and speeches during trips to South Korea, Japan and China.

"His current trip to our surrounding region is a warmonger's visit for confrontation to rid the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) of its self-defensive nuclear deterrence", North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on state media, Korean Central News Agency.

The ongoing war of words has kept several countries on its toes, including the likes of South Korea, Japan, China and Russian Federation.

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.

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

The exercises will also involve 11 US Aegis ships and seven South Korean naval vessels, including two Aegis ships.

According to the U.S. Navy, it is the first three-carrier exercise in the Western Pacific since 2007.

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".

In recent months, North Korea has tested intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the US mainland with further development and has conducted its most powerful nuclear test.

It has repeatedly threatened to launch ballistic missiles into the waters around the USA territory of Guam.

Trump has been working to rally global pressure against North Korea's nuclear weapons program on a trip to Asia. Trump has previously derided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "rocket man".

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