Kim Jong-un warns of 'super-mighty preemptive strike' against US

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"We've moved beyond failed dialogues of the past and now we've moved into an era where President Trump is absolutely committed to marshaling the energy of the world community, of countries in the Asian-Pacific, to use economic and diplomatic power to isolate North Korea and achieve the goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula", he said.

US President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed admonitions from sole major ally China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.

South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, at a meeting with top officials on Thursday, repeatedly called for the military and security ministries to maintain vigilance. He added: "All options are on the table". Lu said Beijing wants to resume the multi-party negotiations that ended in stalemate in 2009 and suggested that USA plans to deploy a missile defence system in South Korea were damaging its relations with China.

March was an even busier month for the Korean Peninsula.

Chinese air force land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers were put "on high alert" on Wednesday, the official said, adding that the U.S. has also seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness through intensified maintenance.

Recent media reports also suggested that China has sent 150,000 troops to its border with North Korea. Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's largest newspaper, said China was looking to "tame" South Korea and weaken the traditional alliance between Seoul and Washington in an attempt to expand its regional influence.

Trump compounded the gaffe when he tripped over a particularly sensitive cultural landmine, telling the Journal that South Korea had once been part of China. That sparked outrage among South Koreans and prompted an official response from the Foreign Ministry.

"We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan", Pence said.

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It also states that North Korea's "illegal ballistic missile activities are contributing to its development of nuclear weapons".

Geopolitical tensions flare every spring on the Korean peninsula, but analysts say the anxiety of recent weeks has been magnified by the unpredictable new player in the annual drama: Donald Trump.

"It is important for China to recognise it is not in its interest to seek to appease North Korea and China has leverage over North Korea that is unique and possibly decisive", Ms Bishop said.

But that is risky, not only because a cornered Kim might do just about anything but also because such a strike would nearly certainly invoke Article 2 of the 1961 Sino-North Korean Treaty that legally requires China to aid North Korea in case of an attack. On Sunday, it attempted to test fire another missile, but it was unsuccessful, according to South Korean and U.S. officials. Meanwhile, in the face of the looming threat from North Korea, Japan begins to hold evacuation drills to prepare for any potential North Korean missile launched aimed at the country.

That threat gives Pyongyang free rein for bombast.

North Korean state media warned the USA they have "super-mighty preemptive strike" planned should the U.S. try to deter its nuclear weapons program with military force after Donald Trump said Americans "always have to be concerned" about the prospect of a thermonuclear war with the communist nation.

So where can North Korea now hit with their missiles? The statement had consensus from China, Russia was the only dissenter.