"Of course, with the combined forces of the ROK and United States, we can undoubtedly win the war", Defense Secretary William Perry told South Korean President Kim Dae Jung at the time.
Earlier, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released a statement of North Korea's foreign ministry official that said that the statements made by American high-profile officials and the joint drills conducted by the US and South Korea show that Washington is trying to trigger war on the Korean Peninsula which North Korea will not be hiding from.
This made the Vigilant ACE the largest air combat manoeuvers carried out in the Korean peninsula.
In comments attributed to an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman, North Korea also claimed high-ranked US officials, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, have further confirmed American intent for war with a series of "bellicose remarks".
North Korea, which denounces such drills, said at the weekend that the recent war game pushed tensions on the peninsula toward "a flare-up".
The five-day drills that began Monday involve more than 200 aircraft, including six U.S. F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighters.
Military observers, in fact, took notice recently when parasites were discovered in the stomach of a North Korean soldier who defected to South Korea, suggesting even front-line troops are enduring awful conditions as they operate near the DMZ.
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Both sides insist they don't want war, but blame each other for provocations while saying they will act to defend themselves.
The Pentagon said it has "no intent" to move any dependants out of the country.
The United States flew a B-1B supersonic bomber over South Korea on Wednesday as part of a massive combined aerial exercise involving hundreds of warplanes, a clear warning after North Korea last week tested its biggest and most powerful missile yet. The United States stations 28,500 troops in the South, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Guam-based bomber simulated land strikes at a military field near South Korea's eastern coast during a drill with USA and South Korean fighter jets.
North Korea's latest missile test prompted a warning from the United States that North Korea's leadership would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out, a statement that drew sharp criticism from Russian Federation.
The UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs met North Korea's Foreign Minister in Pyongyang on Thursday.