US air combat exercises mean ‘nuclear war may break out any moment’, warns North Korea

North Korea has warned that air combat exercises being carried out by the US and South Korea could lead to a nuclear war.

American and South Korean fighter jets began drills on Monday in response to last week’s missile test by the North.

But North Korea has warned that the drills are ‘creating a situation that a nuclear war may break out any moment’.

Its state media criticised the ‘ceaseless large-scale war games’ by the US and South Korea.

Fighter jets are part of a fleet of 230 US and South Korean aircraft involved in the war games, along with 12,000 troops, all this week.

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The US Seventh Air Force sent major strategic military assets that include six F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighter jets for the annual training exercise in the Korean Peninsula.

An expert has questioned the accuracy of photographs issued by North Korea depicting last week’s test missile launch.

North Korea tested a missile last week (Picture: PA)

Dr Marco Langbroek, who has been tracking North Korea’s missile programme from Leiden in the Netherlands, said there are inconsistencies in photos showing the launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

He said photos supposedly taken from the same angle depict different star constellations behind the missile.

He said the constellations Orion and Andromeda were in the wrong positions.

‘You should see constellations that are opposites in the sky. That is not the case,’ he told CNN.

The missile travelled 600 miles before breaking apart, landing in waters near Japan.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Picture: Getty)

Meanwhile, a senior United Nations official has arrived in Pyongyang for a rare, four-day visit at the invitation of the North Korean government.

Undersecretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman is scheduled to meet foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, vice minister Pak Myong Guk, diplomats and UN staff during his stay.

A rally in North Korea where the missile launch was celebrated (Picture: Getty)

They are expected to discuss a wide range of issues.

Mr Feltman, the highest-ranking American in the UN secretariat, is the first person in that post to visit North Korea since February 2010.

Though Mr Feltman previously worked for the state department, he is not representing the US government.

(Main picture: Getty)