'The remaining question now is: when will the war break out?' North Korea warns outbreak of war is 'established fact' after US military drills

Tom Powell
Kim Jong-Un laughs while analyising North Korea's latest missile launch, thought to be capable of reaching anywhere in the US: AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has warned that the outbreak of war is “an established fact” following large military drills by the South and the US.

A spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry blamed “confrontational warmongering” by the US, adding: “The remaining question now is: when will the war break out?”

“We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it,” he said.

It comes amid a period of high tension on the Korean peninsula, following Kim Jong-Un’s latest test of a missile which could reportedly hit anywhere on the US mainland.

Missile: the Hwasong-15 missile which is capable of reaching all parts of the US (AFP/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, a senior United Nations official on a rare high-level visit to North Korea has held talks with the nation’s foreign minister.

Jeffrey Feltman, the UN undersecretary-general for political affairs, met with Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Thursday - the second full day of the highest-level UN visit to the North since 2010.

Jeffrey Feltman arrives to take a flight for North Korea at the International Airport of Beijing (AFP/Getty Images)

He arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday for a stay expected to last four or five days and it is not immediately known what the two discussed in their meeting.

According to North Korea's state-run media, Mr Feltman discussed UN assistance and operations in North Korea along with "other matters of mutual concern" during a meeting with the vice foreign minister on Wednesday.

Six UN agencies, with about 50 international staff, are represented in the North.

The visit by Mr Feltman, an American citizen and former State Department official, comes amid high tensions on the peninsula fanned by tough talk and posturing by Pyongyang and Washington.

The North recently launched its most advanced missile to date and the US and South Korea are now holding joint exercises with some of the world's most powerful fighter aircraft.

Though the North's state media are prone to publishing alarmist rhetoric, North Korean authorities have regularly criticised the UN for its sanctions resolutions, insisting Pyongyang has the sovereign right to test missiles, nuclear devices and launch satellites.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly in September, Mr Ri defended his country's missile and nuclear programmes as a "righteous self-defensive measure" in the face of US hostility and nuclear threats.