Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

North Korea warns USA of a pre-emptive strike

North Korea warns USA of a pre-emptive strike

A flurry of military activity in Russia's far east came as the UN Security Council condemned North Korea's latest missile test and threatened to impose new sanctions against Pyongyang for its "highly destabilising behaviour".

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

The council said North Korea's illegal missile and nuclear activities "are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond" and expressed "utmost concern" at its "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance" of six United Nations sanctions resolutions.

The Russian military said on Friday it was not building up its forces near the border with North Korea, denying earlier media reports which said it was, the Interfax news agency reported, citing an army spokesman.

US and South Korean officials have been saying for weeks that the North could soon stage another nuclear test in violation of United Nations sanctions, something the United States, China and others have warned against.

The United States and South Korea are now conducting annual, bilateral training exercises, codenamed "Max Thunder".

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. None of the United States officials who said about the heightened level of activity by Chinese bombers suggested alarm or signalled that they knew the precise reason for such activity.

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On April 17, North Korea attempted to launch a ballistic missile that exploded within seconds after it took off, according to US and South Korean defense officials.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has been accused of "shocking ignorance" after asserting that Korea "used to be a part of China" shortly after a meeting with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president.

Tensions have risen sharply in recent months after North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests past year and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests.

South Korean presidential candidates clashed on Wednesday night in a debate over the planned deployment in South Korea of a US-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system, which has angered China.

The North has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.

There was confusion over the whereabouts of a United States aircraft carrier group after Trump said last week he had sent an "armada" as a warning to North Korea, even as the ships were still far from Korean waters.

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