As the U.S.S. Carl Vinson plowed through the seas nearSouth Korea on Tuesday, rival North Korea warned the United States of “merciless” attacks if the carrier violates its “sovereignty or dignity” during U.S.-South Korean drills.

F-18 fighter jets took off from the flight deck of the carrier in a dramatic display of U.S. military force amidst rising tensions with the Communist North, which has alarmed its neighbors with two nuclear tests and multiple series of missile launches since last year.

North Korea called the arrival of the U.S. strike group in the seas off the east of the Korean peninsula a “reckless scheme” to attack the North.

Read also: Bill Clinton created a nuclear North Korea

Last week, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan in response to annual U.S.-South Korea military drills, which the North sees as preparation for war.

The murder in Malaysia last month of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother has added to a sense of urgency between the sworn enemies.

Read also: Why is Japan considering an attack on North Korea?

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to make his first visit. South Korean and U.S. troops began the large-scale joint drills, which are billed as defensive in nature, on March 1.

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