South Korea on heightened alert as isolated North readies for army celebration

China on Friday stressed on a dialogue to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue after the UN Security Council strongly condemned the latest ballistic missile launch by North Korea.

"It is a situation where a lot of exercise equipment is amassed in North Korea and also a lot of strategic assets are situated on the Korean peninsula because of the South Korea-U.S. military drills", Lee told a briefing.

Reclusive North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the U.S. and has shown no let-up in its belligerence after Sunday's failed missile test.

US officials said there was a higher-than-usual level of activity by Chinese bombers, signalling a possible heightened state of readiness by reclusive North Korea's sole major ally, although the officials played down concern and left open a range of possible reasons.

The row between Russian Federation and the United States came ahead of a Security Council ministerial meeting next week on North Korea that will be chaired by US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson.

The council also warned the North of "further significant measures, including sanctions".

Residents and local media in Russia's far east reported large military convoys travelling in the direction of the North Korean border since the weekend, in what appear to be contingency plans to contain fallout from a possible military clash between the United States and North Korea.

In conjunction with the US military forces, whose support it has, South Korea has been conducting training exercises as it does annually.

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The launch ended in failure as the missile blew up right after takeoff.

Tensions have risen sharply in recent months after North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests a year ago and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests. He said he was confident Chinese President Xi Jinping would "try very hard" to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and missile programmes.

Mr Trump has called on China, Pyongyang's only ally, to rein in North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but has threatened to act alone to "solve" the problem if necessary. "I don't know", he told reporters.

North Korea carried out a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after displaying missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.

Ryan said he was encouraged by the results of efforts to work with China to reduce tension, but that it was unacceptable North Korea might be able to strike allies with nuclear weapons.

Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its arms programs, including developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States and announcing that a declared priority is to develop a hydrogen bomb.

The US Navy's Carl Vinson Strike Group is set to be deployed to the Korean Peninsula amid growing fears related to Pyongyang's missile program, according to media reports.

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