North Korea holds drill to mark military anniversary day

North Korea holds drill to mark military anniversary day

Along with sending US military assets to the region in a show of force, President Donald Trump is leaning on China to exert economic pressure on its wayward ally.

The port call by the USS Michigan came as a US aircraft carrier strike group headed toward Korean waters and as the top envoys for North Korea policy from South Korea, Japan and the USA met in Tokyo.

"The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programmes", he said. South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, the country's acting leader in place of ousted President Park Geun-hye, who has been arrested over corruption allegations, has instructed his military to strengthen its "immediate response posture" in case the North does something significant on the April 25 anniversary.

Trump spoke by phone with both the Japanese and Chinese leaders on Monday.

North Korea on Sunday threatened to sink the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which is beginning joint drills with two Japanese destroyers in the western Pacific Ocean.

South Korea said in a statement Wednesday that unspecified parts of THAAD were installed.

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

On Monday, Trump called for tougher United Nations sanctions on the North, saying it was a global threat and "a problem that we have to finally solve".

Trump has said the USA was sending an "armada" to the Korean peninsula, including submarines.

There is also a possibility that North Korea, facing potential changes in regional dynamics as Washington presses Beijing to pressure North Korea more aggressively, opts to mark the anniversary with a missile launch of lesser magnitude.

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Angered by the approach of the carrier group, which could arrive within days, North Korea said the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson was "an extremely unsafe act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade".

Speculation had mounted that Pyongyang could carry out a sixth nuclear test or another missile launch to mark 85 years since the founding of its army.

On April 15, North Korea offered a look at its advancing nuclear weapon and missile programs in a massive military parade in Pyongyang honoring late state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current ruler.

"There is no limit to the strike power of the People's Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment, including various precision and miniaturised nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles", the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page editorial.

But the timing, as the U.S. increases its military presence in the area, allows North Korea to remind its opponents that it could cause crippling damage with conventional artillery to highly populated areas in South Korea. It also launched a long-range rocket previous year that delivered a satellite into orbit, which Washington, Seoul and others saw as a banned test of missile technology.

North Korea had earlier shown signs it was working on a new ICBM.

Trump said he was sending "an armada" to Korean waters potentially to deal with threats from North Korea. Kim was then quoted as saying "the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries".

Analysts say North Korea is also likely developing solid-fuel ICBMs, and that some of the canisters might have contained prototypes.

"As (North Korea has) one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, again artillery can be used for that".

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