The defence ministry said US and South Korean air forces were conducting an annual training exercise, codenamed Max Thunder, until April 28.
North Korea's special forces, according to the white paper, expanded from 120,000 in 2006 to about 200,000 in 2010, accounting for 17% of Pyongyang's forces at that point. A ballistic missile launch that morning was a failure for North Korea, but there are plans for more tests each week. The latest draft statement dropped "through dialogue" and Russian Federation requested it be included again.
Park Hwee Rak, of Kookmin University said, "I don't think the United States is fully prepared to cope with all the side effects of the pre-emptive strike".
US Ambassador Nikki Haley told United Nations reporters it was "up to North Korea to avoid further trouble". The US military is reportedly considering shooting these tests down. It was now heading for the Western Pacific as ordered, it said. "As President Trump has made clear to the world, the era of strategic patience is over".
Chun Yung-woo of the Korean Peninsula Future Forum said, "I see less than 1% chance that North Korea responds if he responds with artillery and bombardment then he knows within a matter of days or weeks the North Korean regime will no longer exist".
The Korean Workers Party's official newspaper said it would "reduce the America to ashes".
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All options need to be explored to rein in North Korea
But reports since have indicated that Washington's new policy towards the DPRK will focus on maximum pressure and engagement. The vice president earlier visited a military installation near the DMZ, Camp Bonifas, for a briefing with military leaders.