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north korea nuclear program

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President Donald Trump has announced that the US military is “locked and loaded” to deal with North Korea, ramping up the rhetorical brinkmanship.

He tweeted: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong-un will find another path!”

President Trump spoke as North Korea accused him of “driving” the Korean peninsula to the “brink of a nuclear war”.

Pyongyang has announced plans to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam.

On August 11, Guam’s homeland security agency issued a fact sheet with tips for residents to prepare for any missile threat.

The sheet states: “Do not look at the flash or fireball – it can blind you.”

“Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit.”

Photo AP

North Korea Planning to Fire Four Missile Near Guam

North Korea Warns US over Fresh UN Sanctions

Rex Tillerson: “US Government Is Not Seeking Regime Change in North Korea

Russia said the exchange of threats between the US and North Korea “worry us very much”.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rated the risk of military conflict as “very high” as he put forward a joint Russian-Chinese plan to defuse the crisis.

President Trump’s tweet follows his threat earlier this week to rain “fire and fury” on Pyongyang.

His latest post came hours after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis attempted to cool tensions by emphasizing a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Speaking in California late on August 10, the Pentagon chief said it was his job to be ready for conflict.

However, he said the effort by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley “has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results”.

Jim Mattis added: “The tragedy of war is well enough known. It doesn’t need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic.”

When asked about US military plans for a potential conflict, Jim Mattis said the country was ready, but he would not “tell the enemy in advance what I’m going to do”.

Also on August 11, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency accused the US of a “criminal attempt to impose nuclear disaster upon the Korean nation”.

North Korea’s media outlet said America was making “desperate efforts” to test weapons in the Korean peninsula.

Washington is “the mastermind of nuclear threat, the heinous nuclear war fanatic”, the report said.

Tensions have escalated since North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

The regime was further angered by last week’s UN decision to increase economic sanctions against it.

North Korea has said it will within days finalize a plan to fire medium-to-long-range rockets towards Guam, where US strategic bombers are based, along with more than 160,000 US citizens.

There has been no indication that any actual attack on the Pacific island is imminent.

On August 10, President Trump suggested that his own statements on North Korea had not been tough enough, warning the regime to be “very, very nervous”.

However, the president added that the US would always consider negotiations.

Donald Trump also chided North Korea’s closest ally, China, saying it could do “a lot more”.

China’s state-run Global Times newspaper wrote that Beijing should stay neutral if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the US.

However, it also said that if the US and South Korea attacked North Korea to force regime change, then China must intervene to prevent it.

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North Korea claims that a plan that could see it fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam will be ready in a matter of days.

According to state media, Hwasong-12 rockets would pass over Japan and land in the sea about 17 miles from Guam, if the plan was approved by Kim Jong-un.

North Korea denounced President Donald Trump’s warnings of “fire and fury” and said the US leader was “bereft of reason”.

The US has warned North Korea its actions could mean the “end of its regime”.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Pyongyang would be “grossly overmatched” in any war against the US and its allies.

North Korea first announced on August 9 that it had been drawing up plans for a missile strike against Guam, a Pacific island which is home to US military bases, strategic bombers and about 163,000 people.

Image source Wikimedia

North Korea Warns US over Fresh UN Sanctions

US Bans Traveling to North Korea

North Korea Tests New Rocket Engine

A later statement carried by state media said the North Korean military would “finally complete the plan” by mid-August and send it to leader Kim Jong-un for his approval.

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi [Kochi] Prefectures of Japan,” state news agency KCNA said, quoting army chief General Kim Rak Gyom.

“They will fly 3,356.7km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30-40km away from Guam.”

The Hwasong missiles are North Korea’s domestically produced medium and long-range weapons.

The governor of Guam addressed North Korea’s new statement on August 10, telling Reuters that Pyongyang usually likes to be unpredictable and has fired surprise missiles in the past.

“They’re now telegraphing their punch, which means they don’t want to have any misunderstandings. I think that’s a position of fear,” said Governor Eddie Calvo.

President Trump boasted about America’s atomic arsenal earlier on August 9.

Tweeting from New Jersey where he is on holiday, President Trump said the US nuclear stockpile was “more powerful than ever before”.

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North Korea has reacted after the US drafted the UN sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang vowed to retaliate and make “the US pay a price”.

The sanctions, which were unanimously passed by the UN on August 5, were a “violent violation of our sovereignty,” the official KCNA news agency said.

Separately, South Korea says North Korea has rejected an offer to restart talks, dismissing it as insincere.

The sanctions will aim to reduce North Korea’s export revenues by a third.

The UN Security Council decision followed repeated missile tests by North Korea which have escalated tensions on the peninsula.

In its first major response on August 7, North Korea insisted that it would continue to develop its controversial nuclear weapons program.

The state-run KCNA news agency said North Korea would “not put our self-defensive nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table” while it faces threats from the US.

UN Security Council Agrees on Fresh Sanctions Against North Korea

Rex Tillerson: “US Government Is Not Seeking Regime Change in North Korea”

Donald Trump Warns North Korea of “Pretty Severe” Response Following ICBM Test

Pyongyang threatened to make the US “pay the price for its crime… thousands of times,” referring to America’s role in drafting the UN sanctions resolution.

Speaking to reporters at a regional forum in the Philippine capital, Manila, North Korean spokesman Bang Kwang Hyuk said: “The worsening situation on the Korean peninsula, as well as the nuclear issues, were caused by the United States.

“We affirm that we’ll never place our nuclear and ballistic missiles program on the negotiating table, and won’t budge an inch on strengthening nuclear armament.”

The remarks come after reports emerged that the North and South Korean foreign ministers had met briefly on August 6 on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila.

South Korean media reported that its Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha shook hands with her North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, in a brief and unarranged meeting at an official dinner event.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Kang Kyung-wha as saying that Ri Yong Ho’s rejection of the talks proposal appeared to be connected to the new sanctions.

“I told him that [the two offers for talks] are an urgent matter that should be carried out immediately with any political agenda put aside and asked him to proactively react,” she was quoted as saying.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists on August 7: “My feeling is that the North did not entirely reject the positive proposals raised by the South.”

Wang Yi added that China also supported South Korea’s initiatives, and was “100%” committed to enforcing the latest round of UN sanctions.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also at the ASEAN forum, where he spoke about North Korea.

Noting Russia and China’s participation in the unanimous vote, Rex Tillerson told journalists it was clear there was now “no daylight among the international community” on their desire for North Korea to stop its tests.

“The best signal that North Korea can give us [is] that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” he added.

Russia and China have previously differed with others on how to handle Pyongyang, but in recent months have joined calls for North Korea to stop its missile tests – while also urging the US and South Korea to halt military drills, and withdraw an anti-missile system from the South.

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President Donald Trump has warned North Korea that it is facing a “pretty severe” response following its long-range missile test earlier this week.

The president said: “They are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner and something will have to be done about it.”

However, Donald Trump moderated his comments, saying: “We’ll just take a look at what happens over the coming weeks and months.”

North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with the potential to hit Alaska on July 4.

Image source Wikipedia

Despite the ICBM’s relatively short flight and eventual crash into the sea, the test has been labeled a sharp military escalation by the US.

Donald Trump Criticizes China Following North Korea’s Test of Long-Range Missile

“I have pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,” President Trump said of a possible US response.

“That doesn’t mean that we’ll do them.”

President Trump said other nations should challenge North Korea’s “very, very bad behavior”.

He was speaking in Warsaw, Poland, at a joint news conference with the Polish President Andrzej Duda.

North Korea Claims It Successfully Tested ICBM

President Trump is due to meet with other world leaders at the G20 summit in Germany on July 7.

His comments follow those of US ambassador Nikki Haley, who told the UN Security Council that the US was willing to use its “considerable military forces” on North Korea “if we must”.

The US and South Korea have already stepped up military drills, firing missiles into the Sea of Japan in an apparent show of strength.

North Korea, however, said it would not negotiate over its missile program unless the US ended its “hostile policy” against Pyongyang.

Unless the US stopped its “hostile policy”, North Korea would “never put the nuke and ballistic rocket on the negotiating table”.

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According to US officials, North Korea has tested a new rocket engine as part of its efforts to build a missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

The news comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

The Trump administration has made the issue one of its top priorities.

Despite international condemnation, North Korea has increased its missile tests, with the aim of developing an intercontinental nuclear-armed rocket.

Last month, the US Defense Intelligence Agency warned that North Korea was on an “inevitable” path to achieving this.

On June 22, US officials speaking anonymously to several news agencies said the latest engine test could be one stage of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) engine that would be able to reach the American mainland.

Due to the secretive nature of all of North Korea’s military activity, it is hard for experts to assess how close the country is to building a reliable ICBM.

On June 21, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China to use more diplomatic pressure on North Korea “if they want to prevent further escalation in the region”.

China is seen as North Korea’s main ally and the US hopes Beijing can have greater influence on the totalitarian state to stop both its missile tests and nuclear program.

President Donald Trump has said he would like to solve the North Korea crisis diplomatically, but has previously warned that a “major, major conflict” is possible.

Tensions spiked once again last week when American student Otto Warmbier, who was serving a hard labor sentence in North Korea for stealing a propaganda sign, died shortly after returning home in a coma.

The US has also ramped up its military presence in the region, conducting drills with Japan as well as South Korea, and is installing a controversial missile defense system in South Korea, known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

However, South Korea recently said it was suspending the further deployment of the system until an environmental assessment was completed.

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According to South Korea’s military, North Korea has fired several anti-ship cruise missiles off its east coast.

Authorities said the weapons, launched on June 8 near the city of Wonsan, appeared to be short-range “surface-to-ship” missiles.

They flew about 125 miles before landing in the water.

Repeated ballistic missile tests by North Korea this year – not all successful but all a breach of UN sanctions – have sparked international alarm.

Photo KCNA

Experts fear the tests indicate progress towards North Korea’s ultimate goal of putting a nuclear warhead on a missile.

The latest firing, however, does not violate the UN Security Council’s resolutions against the North, as those resolutions only ban ballistic missile launches, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap.

South Korean military spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said the latest launch showed the North “likely wanted to show off its ability to precisely target a large warship” after recent military drills involving US aircraft carriers and South Korean troops.

“By testing different types of missiles, North Korea also appears to be aiming to secure the upper hand in relations with South Korea and the United States,” Roh Jae-cheon told reporters.

Anti-ship cruise missiles are guided missiles which generally skim the water. In 2012, North Korea displayed several such weapons known as Styx.

North Korea has also previously unsuccessfully tested anti-ship ballistic missiles, experts believe.

On May 29, North Korea fired a Scud-type ballistic missile from the same location, which flew about 280 miles.

Last week the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution to impose targeted sanctions on certain North Korean officials and state entities.

The US has also ramped up its military presence in the region, conducting drills with Japan as well as South Korea, and is installing a controversial missile defense system in South Korea, known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

However, South Korea said on June 7 it was suspending the further deployment of the system until an environmental assessment is completed.

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The UN has imposed new targeted sanctions against North Korea in response to a series of missile tests conducted by Pyongyang this year.

The measures impose a travel ban and asset freeze on four entities and 14 officials, including the head of North Korea’s overseas spying operations.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously to back the sanctions after weeks of negotiations between the US and China.

North Korea has defied a UN resolution banning all nuclear and missile tests.

The sanctions resolution was adopted by the 15-member council on June 2.

Among the 14 North Korean officials is Cho Il-u, who leads Pyongyang’s foreign espionage operations.

The other blacklisted officials are senior members of North Korea’s Workers’ Party and heads of trading companies funding Pyongyang’s military program.

North Korea’s strategic rocket force, the Koryo Bank and two trading companies were also added to the list.

The Koryo Bank is linked to a party office that manages finances of North Korea’s top officials, including leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea has been testing its missiles at an unprecedented pace. It says its nuclear program is defensive and intended to counter US aggression.

However, experts fear the tests indicate progress towards North Korea’s ultimate goal of putting a nuclear warhead on a missile that could strike the continental US.

President Donald Trump has warned North Korea that America’s “strategic patience” over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions came to an end.

Washington has recently sent its aircraft carrier to the Korean peninsula.

At the same time, the US has been negotiating with China – North Korea’s ally – to put more pressure on the secretive regime.

The UN Security Council first imposed sanctions against North Korea in 2006 in response to its missile and nuclear programs.

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According to South Korea’s military, North Korea has conducted another missile test on May 21.

Meanwhile, the White House said the medium-range missile had a shorter range than those used in North Korea’s last three tests.

The move comes a week after North Korea tested what it said was a new type of rocket capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

On May 15, the UN Security Council again demanded that North Korea conduct no further such tests.

It stressed the importance of North Korea “immediately showing sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action”.

The UN Security Council is now scheduled to meet behind closed doors on May 23 – a meeting requested by the US, South Korea and Japan.

South Korea’s foreign ministry earlier said the launch was “reckless and irresponsible”, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described it as “disappointing” and “disturbing”.

The latest missile flew about 350 miles towards the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Last week’s missile travelled about 435 miles.

Japanese news agencies said the missile probably fell into the sea outside Japan’s waters.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference a protest had been lodged with North Korea.

North Korea is known to be developing both nuclear weapons – it has conducted five nuclear tests – and the missiles capable of delivering those weapons to their target. Both are in defiance of UN sanctions.

South Korea said the latest test was conducted in Pukchang, in the west of the country. A missile exploded soon after take-off from Pukchang last month.

Earlier on May 21, North Korea’s state-run media had said it would continue to launch more “weapons capable of striking” the US.

In early May, the US said a missile defense system it had installed in South Korea was now operational.

The THAAD system can intercept North Korean missiles, although full operational capability is still some months away. North Korea and its ally China have condemned the installation of the system.

However, there is no sign that THAAD was used against the missile tested on May 21.

Newly-installed South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is seeking deeper engagement with North Korea, has convened an urgent meeting of his national security council in response.

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North Korea’s latest missile test has been unanimously condemned by the UN Security Council, while warning of new sanctions.

In a statement, the 15-member Council demanded that North Korea conduct no further such tests.

Pyongyang earlier said the missile it had tested on May 14 was a new type of rocket capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

The missile traveled some 435 miles, reaching an altitude of 1,250 miles and landing in the sea west of Japan.

North Korea said it was a test of the abilities of a “newly developed ballistic rocket”.

South Korea’s military said it could not yet verify North Korea’s claims.

However, it said Pyongyang’s missiles did appear to be able to leave and re-enter the atmosphere, which is crucial to developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports.

In the statement on May 15, the UN Security Council stressed on the importance of North Korea “immediately showing sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action”.

North Korea should “conduct no further nuclear and ballistic missile tests”, it said.

The UN Security Council has imposed six sets of sanctions against North Korea since 2006.

North Korea’s KCNA state news agency said the test of a “newly developed mid/long-range strategic ballistic rocket, Hwasong-12” had gone to plan.

“The test-fire aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead,” it said.

North Korea is known to be developing both nuclear weapons – it has conducted five nuclear tests – and the missiles capable of delivering those weapons to their target. Both are in defiance of UN sanctions.

However, it remains unclear whether it has the ability to make the weapons small enough to be mounted on a rocket, and it has never tested an ICBM which could reach, for example, the US.

ICBM’s are considered to have a range of about 3,750 miles, but analysts believe the missile tested on Sunday would have travelled about 2,500 miles if it had been fired at a standard trajectory rather than upwards.

The KCNA report said that, as ever, the test had been overseen by North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.

It said Kim Jong-un had told the scientists and technicians involved “not to be complacent” but to build further “nuclear weapons and methods of delivery” until the US made “the right choice”.

The White House has mooted talks with North Korea under the right conditions, which would include a halt to missile tests.

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North Korea claims that the missile it tested on May 14 was a new type of rocket capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

The missile, launched at a steep angle, reached an altitude of 1,242 miles and traveled about 440 miles, landing in the sea west of Japan.

North Korea said on May 15 it was a test of the abilities of a “newly developed ballistic rocket”.

South Korea’s military said it could not yet verify North Korea’s claims.

However it said North Korea’s missiles did appear to be able to leave and re-enter the atmosphere, which is crucial to developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the Yonhap news agency reported.

Repeated missile tests by North Korea this year – not all of them successful but all a breach of UN sanctions – have sparked international alarm and raised tensions with the US.

The US and Japan have called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on May 16.

North Korea’s KCNA state news agency said on May 15 that the test of a “newly developed mid/long-range strategic ballistic rocket, Hwasong-12” had gone to plan.

“The test-fire aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead,” it said.

North Korea is known to be developing both nuclear weapons – it has conducted five nuclear tests – and the missiles capable of delivering those weapons to their target. Both are in defiance of UN sanctions.

However, it remains unclear whether it has the ability to make the weapons small enough to be mounted on a rocket, and it has never tested a long-range ICBM which could reach, for example, the US.

ICBM’s are considered to have a range of about 6,000km, but analysts believe the missile tested on May 14 would have travelled about 4,000km if it had been fired at a standard trajectory rather than upwards.

The KCNA report said that, as ever, the test had been overseen by North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

It said Kim Jong-un had told the scientists and technicians involved “not to be complacent” but to build further “nuclear weapons and methods of delivery” until the US made “the right choice”.

The White House has mooted talks with North Korea under the right conditions, which would include a halt in missile tests.

In a statement on May 14, the White House said Pyongyang had been “a flagrant menace for far too long” and that this “latest provocation” should “serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions”.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said on May 14 that until Kim Jong-un meets the US conditions, “we’re not sitting down with him”.

South Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in, who is seeking deeper engagement with North Korea, said it was a “reckless provocation”.

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North Korea has carried out another ballistic missile test, just few days after Moon Jae-in took office in South Korea.

According to Japanese officials, the missile was launched from north-western Kusong.

South Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in, who campaigned on a platform of better engagement with North Korea, said it was a provocation.

President Donald Trump has called for “stronger sanctions” against North Korea, while China is urging restraint.

A series of North Korean missile tests this year – which are banned by the UN – has sparked international alarm and raised tensions with the US.

Two missile launches last month both failed, with the rockets exploding just minutes into flight.

The nature of the launch is still being determined, but analysts have said the test could suggest a longer range than previously tested devices.

According to the Japanese defense minister, the missile flew for about 30 minutes before falling in the Sea of Japan and could be a new type of missile, Reuters reported.

Tomomi Inada said it covered a distance of 435 miles, reaching an altitude of more than 1,245 miles – higher than that reached by an intermediate-range missile North Korea fired in February.

The US Pacific Command said in a statement the type was being assessed but that its flight was not consistent with that of an intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM], which would have the range to reach the US mainland.

North Korea is believed to be developing two types of ICBM, but neither has so far been flight tested.

After hosting an emergency meeting of his security council, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in condemned the latest launch as a “provocation”.

“The president said while South Korea remains open to the possibility of dialogue with North Korea, it is only possible when the North shows a change in attitude,” his spokesman said.

The White House said President Donald Trump “cannot imagine Russia is pleased” because the missile did not land far from Russian territory.

It added that the new launch should serve as a call for stronger sanctions against North Korea.

A Kremlin spokesperson later said Russian President Vladimir Putin was concerned by the test.

China, North Korea’s only major ally, called for restraint by “all relevant parties” in the wake of the latest test.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests despite UN sanctions and is also developing long-range missiles.

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Pope Francis has urged for international mediation to ease rising tensions between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear activity.

The Pope suggested that Norway, for example, was “always ready to help”.

Pope Francis warned the crisis risked sparking a devastating war in which “a good part of humanity” would be destroyed.

The pontiff’s comments come hours after North Korea test-fired another ballistic missile, which the US and South Korea say exploded shortly after take-off.

The missile was fired from a site in South Pyeongan province, north of Pyongyang, South Korea said.

President Donald Trump accused Pyongyang of showing “disrespect” towards China and its president.

He recently hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and praised him for “trying very hard” on North Korea.

The test came just hours after the UN Security Council had discussed North Korea’s missile program.

Speaking to reporters aboard his plane after a visit to Egypt, Pope Francis said: “There are so many facilitators in the world, there are mediators who offer themselves, such as Norway for example.”

The pontiff warned that the situation had become “too hot” and said: the “path is the path of negotiations, of a diplomatic solution”.

In 2003 six-party talks – involving the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia – were launched to address concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program. However, Pyongyang withdrew from the negotiations in 2009.

Tensions in the region have increased lately, with both North and South Korea conducting military exercises.

North Korea is believed to be continuing efforts to miniaturize nuclear warheads and fit them on long-range missiles capable of reaching the US.

It is not known what kind of missile was unsuccessfully launched on April 29. However, US officials told Reuters that it was probably a medium-range missile known as a KN-17.

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According to South Korean and US military officials, North Korea has test-fired another ballistic missile.

The missile exploded shortly after take-off, they said – the second failed launch in the past fortnight.

President Donald Trump accused North Korea of showing “disrespect” towards China and its president.

The missile was fired in the early hours on April 29 from a site in South Pyeongan province, north of Pyongyang, South Korea said.

President Trump wrote on Twitter: “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”

He recently hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and praised his Chinese counterpart for “trying very hard” on North Korea.

The failed launch came just hours after the United Nations Security Council discussed North Korea’s missile programme.

Donald Trump‘s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for a tougher international approach to the isolated communist state – but also signaled that the US might be prepared to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Tensions in the region have increased lately, with both North and South Korea conducting military exercises.

North Korea is believed to be continuing efforts to miniaturize nuclear warheads and fit them on long-range missiles capable of reaching the US.

After April 29 failed launch, the Japanese government condemned the test and said it had lodged a strong protest with North Korea through its diplomatic channels.

“North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Bukchang in Pyeongannam-do (South Pyeongan Province) early this morning,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said in a statement, Yonhap reports.

The statement added that the missile apparently exploded, just seconds after the launch.

Meanwhile, Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for US Pacific Command, also said the launch occurred near the Bukchang airfield.

Dave Benham added that the missile did not leave North Korean territory.

US officials told Reuters that they believed the missile was a medium-range type known as KN-17.

The launch occurred a matter of hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on the rest of the world to help force North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions.

Rex Tillerson warned of “catastrophic consequences” if the Council did not act, saying it was “likely only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the US mainland”.

The US would use military force if necessary, he said.

Rex Tillerson accused Council members of not fully enforcing existing sanctions against North Korea, and called on China in particular to leverage its trade links as influence.

However, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the key to solving the problem did not lie with his country.

UN sanctions include a ban on selling arms and fuel to North Korea, as well as a host of items that could be used for weapons-making.

Also on the list are luxury goods including pearl jewellery and snowmobiles worth $2,000 or more.

Since 2016, all cargo entering or leaving North Korea must also be inspected.

However, a recent UN study found that fragments from a North Korean missile test included electronics that had been obtained either from or via Chinese enterprises.

The US has separate, stricter sanctions including a blanket ban on trade and a blacklist of anyone dealing with North Korea.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the US is open to negotiations with North Korea aimed at removing nuclear weapons from the region.

However, Rex Tillerson said the US would use military force if necessary.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said a peaceful settlement was the “only right choice”.

Rex Tillerson told a UN Security Council meeting that the threat of North Korea launching a nuclear attack on its neighbors was “real”.

Thousands of American soldiers are stationed in North Korea’s regional neighbors – South Korea and Japan.

Image source Wikimedia

The secretary of state called on other countries to isolate North Korea diplomatically.

Speaking to the UN Security Council, Rex Tillerson said the US would use diplomatic and financial measures against North Korea – including potential sanctions on companies or individuals with ties to North Korea – but would be willing to consider military action if necessary.

For years, he said, North Korea had dictated the terms of its dangerous course of action.

“It’s time for us to retake control of the situation,” he said.

“The threat of a North Korean nuclear attack on Seoul or Tokyo is real, and it is likely only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the US mainland.”

The foreign minister of China, North Korea’s greatest ally, warned against military intervention.

“The use of force does not solve differences and will only lead to bigger disasters,” Wang Yi said.

“Peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula through dialogue and negotiations represents the only right choice that is practical and viable,” he added.

Wang Yi also repeated a Chinese offer to halt Pyongyang’s military program in return for a freeze on joint US-South Korea military drills.

The US has rejected the idea in the past, saying the nuclear program must be halted first.

Russia said use of force would be “completely unacceptable”. Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also called on North Korea to end its nuclear and missile programs.

“The combative rhetoric coupled with reckless muscle-flexing has led to a situation where the whole world seriously is now wondering whether there’s going to be a war or not,” he told the Security Council.

“One ill-thought-out or misinterpreted step could lead to the most frightening and lamentable consequences.”

North Korea has made repeated attempts to miniaturize nuclear warheads and fit them on long-range missiles capable of reaching the US.

It has also made several military shows of strength in recent weeks and the US has sent warships and an anti-missile system to the region in response.

President Donald Trump’s strategy on North Korea is to tighten sanctions on the secretive country and step up diplomatic moves aimed at pressuring it to end its nuclear and missile programs.

The strategy was announced after a special briefing for all 100 US senators.

Earlier, the top US commander in the Pacific defended the deployment of an advanced missile defense system in South Korea.

Tensions in the Korean Peninsula raised amid fears North Korea is planning new weapons tests.

A joint statement issued by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said: “The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

“We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies.

“The president’s approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners.”

The US already has extensive sanctions in place on North Korea, including a blanket ban on trade and a blacklist of anyone dealing with North Korea.

It is not clear what further sanctions the US could impose.

Democratic Senator Christopher Coons told reporters that military options were discussed at the special presidential briefing for senators.

“It was a sobering briefing in which it was clear just how much thought and planning was going into preparing military options if called for – and a diplomatic strategy that strikes me as clear-eyed and well-proportioned to the threat,” he said.

Image source Wikipedia

A White House official said an option under consideration was to put North Korea back on the state department’s list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

President Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, imposed sanctions over a year ago following a nuclear test and satellite launch by North Korea.

North Korean government property in America was frozen and US exports to, or investment in, North Korea was banned.

The order also greatly expanded powers to blacklist anyone, including non-Americans, dealing with North Korea.

The senators received a highly unusual briefing by the Trump administration on the seriousness of the threat from North Korea and Donald Trump’s strategy for dealing with it on April 26.

Earlier Admiral Harry Harris, head of US Pacific Command, said the US would be ready “with the best technology” to defeat any missile threat.

The deployment of Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea was aimed, he argued, at bringing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “to his senses, not to his knees”.

Admiral Harry Harris said he believed that North Korea would try to attack the US as soon as it had the military capabilities.

China says the deployment of THAAD will destabilize security and there have been protests in South Korea itself, where three people were injured in clashes with police as the system was being delivered to a former golf course on April 26.

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The US has sent a submarine to South Korea, amid worries of another North Korean missile or nuclear test.

The missile-armed USS Michigan is set to join an incoming group of warships led by aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

North Korea is celebrating its army’s 85th founding anniversary on April 25. It marked the event with a large-scale firing drill, South Korea said.

Tensions have risen in the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks, with the US and North Korea exchanging heated rhetoric.

Experts fear North Korea could be planning more tests – it has marked some key anniversaries in the past with nuclear tests or missile launches.

However, South Korea’s defense ministry said “no unusual development had been detected”.

Image source Wikimedia

Instead, Pyongyang conducted a large live-fire drill around the city of Wonsan, South Korea said.

“Our military is closely monitoring the North Korean military’s movement,” the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

North Korea conducted a failed ballistic missile test on April 16, prompting VP Mike Pence to warn it not to “test” President Donald Trump.

In an unusual move, the entire Senate has been asked to attend a briefing on North Korea on April 26 at the White House.

The USS Michigan docked at South Korea’s Busan port on April 25, in what it called a routine visit. It is a nuclear-powered submarine carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles and 60 special operations troops and mini-subs, reported the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.

The submarine is expected to take part in military exercises with the Carl Vinson warship group, which the US said it was dispatching to North Korea earlier this month to “maintain readiness” in the region.

At the time, President Trump said that he was sending an “armada” to the region and that the US had submarines which were “very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier”.

North Korea reacted angrily to the aircraft carrier deployment, threatening to sink it and launch a “super-mighty pre-emptive strike” against what it called US aggression.

However, the US warships caused some confusion and attracted mockery when it emerged that they actually sailed in the opposite direction, away from North Korea, after the announcement. However, US Navy officials said they are now proceeding to the region as ordered.

China is North Korea’s only ally and main trading partner – and the US has been urging Beijing to help put pressure on Pyongyang.

China’s President Xi Jinping spoke to President Donald Trump on April 24, urging all sides to “maintain restraint and avoid actions that would increase tensions”.

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According to South Korean and US military officials say, North Korea has failed to launch a missile on its east coast, a day after Pyongyang warned the US amid rising tension in the region.

The US said a ballistic missile exploded within seconds of the launch.

Hours earlier, North Korea paraded what appeared to be long-range ballistic missiles at a major military display.

North Korea has already conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches in contravention of UN resolutions.

The latest development comes as Vice-President Mike Pence heads to Seoul, where he is expected to discuss the best way to deal with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

“North Korea attempted to test an unidentified type of missile from [its eastern port of] Sinpo,” the South Korean defense ministry said, adding that the launch on April 16 had “failed”.

The ministry said that it was investigating for further details.

The US Pacific Command later confirmed the failed test, adding that it had detected and tracked what it believed to be a North Korean ballistic missile.

“The missile blew up almost immediately,” said US Navy Commander Dave Benham, quoted by Reuters.

One unnamed US official said it was unlikely to have been an intercontinental missile, but investigations were continuing.

On April 15, North Korea marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung, with a huge military parade in Pyongyang amid speculation that current leader Kim Jong-un could order a new nuclear test.

The event, which appeared to include new intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, was a deliberate show of strength.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “North Korea showing a variety of offensive missiles at yesterday’s military parade and daring to fire a ballistic missile today is a show of force that threatens the whole world.”

Tension continues to rise in the Korean Peninsula with the US Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group steaming towards the region.

VP Mike Pence’s long-planned 10-day trip marks his first official visit to the region, where he is expected to reaffirm the US commitment to stand by its regional allies.

It comes as Washington steps up the pressure on isolated North Korea, with President Donald Trump saying that the US is ready to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat.

At the parade on April 15, North Korean military official Choe Ryong-hae, who is believed to be the country’s second most powerful official, said that his country was “prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war”.

“We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks,” he said.

Earlier this month, North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from Sinpo into the Sea of Japan.

The launch took place on the eve of a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to the US to meet President Donald Trump. The two leaders later discussed how to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea is banned from any missile or nuclear tests by the UN, though it has repeatedly broken those sanctions.

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North Korea has said it is “ready to hit back with nuclear attacks” if the US will take provocative action in the region.

The comments came as North Korea marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung.

Soldiers, tanks and other military hardware were paraded in the capital Pyongyang in a show of strength on April 15.

It comes amid speculation that the current leader, Kim Jong-un, could order another nuclear test.

North Korean military official Choe Ryong-Hae said: “We’re prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war.”

He added: “We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks.”

Photo Reuters

North Korea staged an extravagant display of military strength at April 15 parade amid concern that mounting tensions in the region could lead to a conflict with the US.

Rows of military bands and columns of troops marched into Pyongyang’s main Kim Il-sung square in the heart of the city.

On display for the first time were what appeared to be submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which could be developed to house nuclear warheads capable of reaching targets around the world.

With concerns that the state is getting closer to successfully producing a nuclear arsenal, the parade was an opportunity for Kim Jong-un to broadcast North Korea’s current military capabilities.

The event made clear how vital North Korea’s nuclear program is to its future ambitions as it continues to ignore growing pressure from the US to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches. Experts and government officials believe it is working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the US.

On April, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that “conflict could break out at any moment”, adding that if war occurred there could be no winner.

China, North Korea’s only backer, fears conflict could cause the regime to collapse and problems on its border.

“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage,” Wang Yi said.

Adding to Chinese unease, President Donald Trump said on April 13 that “the problem of North Korea” would be “taken care of”.

“If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”

President Trump has recently demonstrated his willingness to resort to military methods. He ordered a cruise missile attack on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack, and the US military just used a huge bomb against ISIS in Afghanistan.

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North Korea has to the US deployment of a Navy strike group to the Korean peninsula by saying it will defend itself “by powerful force of arms”.

The North Korean foreign ministry, quoted by state news agency KCNA, said the deployment showed “reckless moves for invading” had “reached a serious phase”.

The US Pacific Command says it is aimed at maintaining readiness in the region.

President Donald Trump has said the US is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea.

Meanwhile South Korea and China – North Korea’s closest ally – have warned of more stringent sanctions if Pyongyang conducts more missile tests.

Image source Wikimedia

The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships. The warship was due to make port calls in Australia but instead has been diverted from Singapore to the west Pacific, where it recently conducted exercises with the South Korean Navy.

“We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions,” said the foreign ministry statement quoted by KCNA.

“The DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US,” it said.

The US naval deployment showed North Korea had been right to develop nuclear weapons capability for use in self defense or in a pre-emptive strike, the statement added.

On April 10, China’s envoy for the Korean peninsula, Wu Dawei met with South Korea’s foreign minister and top nuclear envoy.

Korean officials told reporters that the two countries had agreed to enact “strong additional measures” if North Korea conducts further nuclear or missile tests.

China, which is North Korea’s economic lifeline, has already imposed economic sanctions including a ban of all imports of North Korean coal since February.

Meanwhile South Korea, the US and Japan are arranging a meeting later this month to coordinate a joint response to North Korea, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap.

North Korea has carried out several nuclear tests and experts predict more could be in the offing as it moves closer towards developing a nuclear warhead that could reach the US.

There have been indications from Pyonyang that it may test an intercontinental missile, even though it is banned from any tests under UN resolutions.

North Korea says it is provoked by military exercises between the US and South Korea, which it sees as preparation for an invasion.

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Amid growing concerns about North Korea’s missile program, the US military has ordered a navy strike group to move towards the Korean peninsula.

The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships.

US Pacific Command described the deployment – now heading towards the western Pacific – as a prudent measure to maintain readiness in the region.

President Donald Trump has said the US is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea.

US Pacific Command spokesman Dave Benham said: “The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.”

The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser.

Image source Wikimedia

As well as massive striking power, the strike group has the capability to intercept ballistic missiles.

The group was originally due to make port calls in Australia but instead has been diverted from Singapore to the west Pacific – where it recently conducted exercises with the South Korean Navy.

North Korea has carried out several nuclear tests and experts predict more could be in the offing as the country moves closer towards developing a nuclear warhead with a big enough range to reach the US.

On April 5, North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan.

The test – condemned by Japan and South Korea – came on the eve of a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to the US to meet President Donald Trump.

President Trump and President Xi discussed how to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs as the US steps up the pressure on China, a historic ally of Pyongyang, to help reduce tension.

However, China has been reluctant to isolate North Korea, fearing its collapse could spawn a refugee crisis and bring the US military to its doorstep.

President Trump said in interview with the Financial Times that Washington was ready to act without Beijing’s co-operation: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”

North Korea is banned from any missile or nuclear tests by the UN, though it has repeatedly broken those sanctions.

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Kim Jong-un has opened the North Korea’s Workers’ Party congress by praising the country’s nuclear achievements.

Appearing before thousands of delegates, the North Korean leader said: “Unprecedented results have been accomplished.”

This year, North Korea announced its fourth nuclear weapon test and that it sent a rocket into space.

The showpiece congress, the first in 36 years, is a chance for Kim Jong-un to cement his power.

More than 100 foreign journalists were invited but were barred from the April 25 House of Culture, where the party congress is being held.

Photo AP

Photo AP

They were instead taken on a tour round a wire-making factory.

News of Kim Jong-un’s comments came via state television, which showed him on stage speaking to a packed venue.

This is the seventh meeting of the North Korea’s Worker’s Party and it is being closely scrutinized for any signs of political or economic change.

Few details were released before the congress, but it is due to elect a new central committee, which appoints a Politburo – the central decision-making body of the Communist party.

The appointments will be watched carefully.

In 2013, Kim Jong-un had his uncle executed for “acts of treachery” and there have followed many reports of purges of high-profile figures.

Some experts have said that Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong is tipped for promotion.

Pyongyang was spruced up ahead of the event, with North Koreans planting flowers and hanging up huge banners with slogans like “Defend the Headquarters of the Korean Revolution at the Cost of our Lives”.

No congress was held during the rule of Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il. His death in 2011 brought Kim Jong-un to power when he was still in his 20s.

The 1980 congress, held before Kim Jong-un was born, saw Kim Jong-il presented as successor to the North’s founding leader Kim Il-sung.

Despite his death in 1994, Kim Il-sung, who has been named North Korea’s “eternal president”, still officially presides over the latest congress, which is expected to run for several days.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claims North Korea’s scientists have developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles.

State media published images showing Kim Jong-un standing next to what it said was a miniaturized weapon.

The claim is impossible to verify from the images alone and experts have long cast doubt on such assertions.

North Korea has stepped up its bellicose rhetoric in response to the UN imposing some of its toughest sanctions.

The move by the Security Council came after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and launched a satellite, both of which broke existing sanctions.

In recent days, Pyongyang has threatened to launch an “indiscriminate” nuclear strike on the US and South Korea, as they began their largest ever round of annual military exercises.Kim Jong un miniature warhead

The drills, known as Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, routinely generate tension.

The claim from Kim Jong-un was made as he inspected a nuclear facility on March 9.

“The nuclear warheads have been standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles by miniaturizing them,” state news agency KCNA quoted Kim Jong-un as saying.

“This can be called true nuclear deterrent,” he added.

Kim Jong-un also inspected nuclear warheads designed for thermo-nuclear reaction, the type used in a hydrogen bomb, KCNA said.

If the claim is true and North Korea can put nuclear warheads on to the tips of its ballistic weapons, it would represent a clear threat to the North’s neighbors and the US.

In October 2014, the commander of US forces in South Korea, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, told reporters that he believed North Korea had the capability to miniaturize a nuclear device.

In May 2015, the North Korea’s National Defense Commission said the country had succeeded in miniaturizing nuclear weapons.

However, the validity of the nuclear boasts has been widely questioned. Experts also still doubt North Korea’s claim that the nuclear test it conducted in January was of a hydrogen bomb.

In addition to the new UN sanctions, which target luxury goods, financing and trade, South Korea has also announced its own measures against North Korea, which includes blacklisting individuals and entities it believes are linked to the weapons program.

The US and South Korea are currently discussing the possible deployment of a US missile defense system to the peninsula, a move strongly opposed by North Korea, Russia and China.

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North Korea has threatened the US and South Korea with nuclear strikes as the two begin their largest ever military drills.

The US and South Korean exercises, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, are an annual event and always generate tension.

The order for a “pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice” was made in a statement put out by Pyongyang.

Such rhetoric is not uncommon, and experts doubt North Korea’s ability to put nuclear warheads on its missiles.

North Korea says it sees the annual US-South Korean war games as a rehearsal for invasion.

In 2015, North Korea threatened to turn Washington into a “sea of fire”.

“We will launch an all-out offensive to decisively counter the US and its followers’ hysteric[al] nuclear war moves,” a newsreader on the state-run North Korean KRT news channel said of the latest exercises.North Korea threatens with nuclear strikes

Approximately 17,000 US forces are participating in the exercises, alongside around 300,000 South Korean troops – both significant increases on 2015’s numbers.

Despite starting on the same day, Key Resolve is more computer simulation-driven and ends on March 18, while Foal Eagle is more focussed on field exercises and runs until 30 April.

South Korea’s defense ministry has warned Pyongyang against any “rash act that brings destruction upon itself”.

“If North Korea ignores our warning and makes provocations, our military will firmly and mercilessly respond to it,” said spokesman Moon Sang-gyun.

Japan’s foreign minister also demanded that North Korea show restraint.

Though unconfirmed, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing military sources, has reported that the exercises will include training for precision attacks on North Korean leadership and its nuclear and missile facilities.

Seoul is expected to announce more sanctions of its own on March 8, which is likely to draw another angry response from Pyongyang.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced that his country’s nuclear weapons should be ready for use “at any time”, state media report.

Kim Jong-un told military leaders North Korea would revise its military posture to be ready to launch pre-emptive strikes, the KCNA said.

However, despite its rhetoric it remains unclear how advanced North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is.

The UN has imposed some of its toughest ever sanctions on North Korea following its nuclear test and missile launch.

In response on March 3, North Korea fired six short-range projectiles into the sea.Kim Jong un North Korea nuclear weapons

According to the KCNA, Kim Jong-un was speaking at a military exercise on March 3, which is thought to be when the projectiles were fired.

Kim Jong-un said North Korea “must always be ready to fire our nuclear warheads at any time” because enemies were threatening the North’s survival.

“At an extreme time when the Americans… are urging war and disaster on other countries and people, the only way to defend our sovereignty and right to live is to bolster our nuclear capability,” he was quoted as saying.

Analysts still doubt whether North Korea has the ability to make a nuclear bomb small enough to put on a feasible missile, but Kim Jong-un’s announcement brought a swift response from the US.

“We urge North Korea to refrain from provocative actions that aggravate tensions and instead focus on fulfilling its international obligations and commitments,” Pentagon spokesman Commander Bill Urban said.

The US and South Korea began talks on March 4 on the possible deployment of a US missile defense shield in the South.

Initial talks will focus on the costs, effectiveness and environmental impact of installing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, among other issues, the Yonhap news agency reported.

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According to South Korea’s defense ministry, North Korea has fired several short-range projectiles into the sea hours after the UN Security Council unanimously voted to impose some of its strongest ever sanctions against the country.

The projectiles were fired at about 10:00 local time from Wonsan on the east coast, a South Korean spokesman told the Yonhap news agency.

He said they were still trying to determine exactly what was fired.

Yonhap quoted officials as saying all the objects fell into the sea.North Korea UN council vote 2016

The new UN measures are a response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test and satellite launch, both of which violated existing sanctions.

They will result in all cargo going to and from the country being inspected, while 16 new individuals and 12 organizations have been blacklisted.

The US and North Korea’s long-standing ally China spent seven weeks discussing the new sanctions.

President Barack Obama said the international community was “speaking with one voice” to tell the North it “must abandon these dangerous programs and choose a better path for its people”.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye welcomed the sanctions, saying she hoped North Korea “will now abandon its nuclear development program and embark on a path of change”.

North Korea insists its missile program is purely scientific in nature, but the United States, South Korea and even its ally China say such launches like the one which put a satellite in orbit last month are aimed at developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.