North Korea's Kim Jong-Un must come to 'his senses': USA admiral

Reuters

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was closely watching North Korean military action in the Wonsan city area, where it said the drills were being held.

In a defiant bit of timing, South Korea announced Wednesday that key parts of a contentious USA missile defence system had been installed a day after rival North Korea showed off its military power.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a special meeting of the United Nations (UN) Security Council on North Korea today to muster support for the effort to stop Pyongyang's nuclear missile programme.

In March, North Korea fired four missiles, which landed in the Sea of Japan, and another one on April 4 prior to a meeting between the USA and China.

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are already inflamed before an anticipated sixth nuclear test from Pyongyang, which has accelerated its long-range missile development programme.

China, meanwhile, appears to have cut off or threatened to cut off oil supplies to North Korea as well as massing troops at the border and increasing diplomatic pressure.

"We're told the priority is still the diplomatic option, trying to isolate North Korea economically, making it hard for it to get components that may be needed for many of its military capabilities".

On the same day, a USA guided-missile submarine docked in South Korea, and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier is headed toward the peninsula for a joint exercise with South Korea.

Although such an explosion hasn't yet occurred, Trump has sent high-powered US military vessels and an aircraft carrier to the region in a show of force, while the North conducted large-scale, live-fire artillery drills, witnessed by national leader Kim Jong Un, earlier this week.

China has significant leverage with North Korea, with 80 percent of North Korea's economy depending ties to the country.

They are capable of precision strikes against the North's nuclear facilities, but the South Korean Navy called the visit "routine" and said the submarine would not take part in any joint exercises.

"We have noted these expressions, and have noted the message conveyed in these expressions hoping to resolve the Korean nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and consultation", he said.

Protestors clash with police in France over election results
Melenchon says that's a possibility if he can't renegotiate France's role in a bloc blamed for myriad economic and security woes. If the results are confirmed, once all votes are counted, the candidates will face each other in the decisive 7 May runoff.

"So US officials should know this clearly and feel responsible, not play with their beaks thoughtlessly", the newspaper said.

"A conflict on the peninsula would be unlike anything we have seen in decades", Kelly Magsamen, a former senior USA defense official, said.

South Korea's defense ministry said some elements of THAAD were moved to the site on what had been a golf course in the south of the country.

"We also discussed at length the role of China".

At the same time, the United States has ordered an aircraft carrier strike group to the western Pacific, near North Korea.

The drill saw more than 300 large-caliber self-propelled guns firing simultaneously and torpedo attacks by submarines, state-run KCNA said, demonstrating North Korea's determination to pour a "merciless rain of fire on the reckless imperialist U.S. and its dirty followers".

At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, U.S. lawmakers probed experts on the potential consequences of a pre-emptive U.S. military strike on North Korea.

China has been angered, however, by US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system in South Korea, complaining that its radar can see deep into China and undermines its security. It is aimed north, not west.

China however is strongly opposed to deployment of the THAAD system which it fears will undermine its own military capabilities.

Here's a look at how THAAD works and why it became a debated issue in South Korea.

Kim might say, as his father, Kim Jong Il, reputedly said in 1993 when asked what he would do if he faced defeat by the United States: "I will be sure to destroy the Earth!"

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