TENSIONS between the US, Russia, China and North Korea continue to escalate, with each power refusing to back down.
And after Kim Jong-un tested the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile – are these signs of an outbreak of World War 3?
Could World War Three happen?
Tensions between US, Russia, China and North Korea are increasing.
Kim Jong-un laughed as he fired North Korea’s first ICBM declaring it was a special “gift for American b******s” on July 4 – the nation’s Independence Day.
Prior to that, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests in 2016 alone, defying six UN Security Council resolutions banning any testing.
The secretive country has shown no signs of slowing down, warning that it is ready for “full out war”.
It has even warned that it would be a “piece of cake” to nuke Japan – and that anyone supporting their detractors would also be in the firing line.
The hermit state has threatened that “nuclear war could break out at any moment”, but most experts believe it would not launch an attack as it would not survive a revenge strike by the US.
Paranoid Kim Jong-un has even dubbed America’s leaders a bunch of “rats sneaking around in the dark” amid claims the CIA plotted to wipe him out.
The tyrannical country has threatened the US with a “full-scale” nuclear war and claims the superpower is running scared of Kim Jong-un’s missiles.
Russia, along with China, is said to have sent a spy ship to the area to ward off the task force amid rising tensions in the region.
There was a time when it seemed like the prospect of war with the likes of Russia and China had disappeared with the end of the Cold War.
But tense relationships between the world’s major military players means the outbreak of another global conflict has been raised higher than ever before.
If World War Three does kick off how could it start?
Russia and America’s involvement in the war in Syria has created a situation where the two nations’ planes are reportedly flying dangerously close to each other on bombing runs.
Putin threatened in June to shoot down all RAF and US jets in western Syria in retaliation for a US Navy fighter downing a Syrian plane.
If World War Three does kick off it seems the Russians could have something to do with it.
But it is more likely that if it ever did happen, it would be sparked hundreds of miles away from Syria.
Professor Paul D Miller of the National Defence University in Washington DC — who predicted the invasion of Crimea and the Ukraine conflict — said the Baltic state is next on Russia’s hit list.
But Putin won’t use conventional troops. Instead, he will recreate what happened in Ukraine and stir up the patriotism of ethnic Russians in the country.
“Putin will instigate an ambiguous militarised crisis using deniable proxies, probably in the next two years”, he said.
A Russian jet came within just five feet of a US reconnaissance plane in the Baltic in June, reports claimed, with one official quoted as saying the SU-27 was “provocative”, “unsafe” and flying “erratically”.
Who would win the war?
It is impossible to say who would win with any certainty, but the US has the best arsenal.
The US is the only country in possession of fifth-gen fighter jets – 187 F-22s and an F-35 that is not yet out of the testing phase.
Russia is developing one stealth fighter and China is working on four.
In terms of submarines the US Navy has 14 ballistic missile submarines with a combined 280 nuclear missiles.
They also possess four guided missile submarines with 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles each and 54 nuclear attack submarines.
Russia has only 60 submarines but they are said to have outstanding stealth capabilities.
They are also developing a 100-megaton nuclear torpedo.
China has five nuclear attack submarines, 53 diesel attack submarines, and four nuclear ballistic missile submarines to date.
But the emerging superpower is developing more.