Japan, US test anti-missile ships during joint military exercises

Kim Jong Un supervised what North Korea says was its largest-ever live-fire military drill on Tuesday, in military exercises staged to mark the 85th foundation anniversary of the Korean People's Army (KPA), the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday.

North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military and a United States submarine docked in South Korea in a show of force amid growing concern over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

More than a month after USA and South Korean officials publicly declared North Korea was ready to set off a nuclear bomb and nearly two weeks since analysts said North Korea's only nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, was "primed and ready", no detonation has happened.

In a statement from the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, South Korea said it was monitoring the situation and remained "firmly prepared".

US Pacific Command has said the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is expected to be off the Korean Peninsula by the end of April, but it has not announced any other carrier movement.

The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier is headed toward the Korean Peninsula and will hold a joint exercise with South Korea.

Trump on Monday urged UN Security Council ambassadors to consider stronger sanctions against Pyongyang, and U.S. senators will be briefed on North Korea at the White House on Wednesday.

A game plan, therefore, would be required for a post-Kim Jong-un North Korea.

In the meantime, the USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine, arrived Tuesday at the South Korean port of Busan for what was described as a routine visit to rest crew and load supplies.

Trump subsequently spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about North Korea.

"This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not", Trump said at a White House meeting Monday.

North Korea has bolstered the case for the system by test-firing dozens of missiles over the past year, all of them capable of hitting South Korea.

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Moon Jae-in, a liberal candidate who has a strong lead in the polls ahead of the May 9 presidential election, has promised to review South Korea's decision to host the anti-missile battery.

US President Donald Trump had earlier vowed to send an "armada" to the region over North Korea's missile tests. An unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said the USA administration's policy to maximize pressure on North Korea was "little short of lighting the fuse of total war", the state news agency reported.

Unspecified parts of the THAAD defense system also were installed.

Some predicted the sixth nuclear test would come on or around the Day of the Sun, the anniversary of the birth of the country's founding father, Kim Il Sung.

Matching the flurry of diplomatic and military activity in Asia, the State Department in Washington said on Monday US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would chair a special ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council on North Korea on Friday.

This action could provoke Washington, which has indicated that it is considering launching pre-emptive attacks against the hermit state.

Foreign policy experts say North Korea presents the most imminent threat to the United States. But the unpredictable communist nation rattled its saber all the same, with drills that served as a reminder of the threat it poses below the border to USA -allied South Korea.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett, reporting from The White House, said a whole range of options were discussed including using a leverage by China, North Korea's main trade partner.

The US says it will only target North Korean missiles, but China and Russian Federation see the system's powerful radars as a security threat.

Kim said they discussed ways to get more cooperation from China and Russian Federation, which they agreed is crucial to applying effective pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

China, North Korea's sole major ally which nevertheless objects to its weapons development, has repeatedly called for calm, and its envoy for Korean affairs, Wu Dawei, was in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The official China Daily newspaper said it was time to step back from harsh rhetoric.

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