US assessing 'military options' as North Korea test looms

US assessing 'military options' as North Korea test looms”

"If the USA comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with the DPRK's pre-emptive strike", Han said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Trump has also said the United States is prepared to tackle the crisis without China, if necessary.

From Twitter threats to Tomahawk missiles, USA president Donald Trump's unorthodox and seemingly impulsive approach to foreign policy has unsettled China, piling new pressure on its hands-off North Korea policy. Han Song Ryol, North Korea's vice minister of foreign affairs, arrives for an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Japan, under its postwar constitution, has limited the role of its military to self-defense only and relied on the USA for offensive and nuclear capability. On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry issued a travel advisory to Japanese residents and tourists in South Korea, reminding them of a growing tension.

During their phone call, Xi told Trump that China is willing to continue working with the United States on denuclearisation, according to a brief description of the call released by the Chinese foreign ministry.

China's calls for calm come as tensions have risen with the dispatch of a USA aircraft carrier off the Korean Peninsula and the deployment of thousands of US and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry for their biggest-ever joint military exercises, reports the Associated Press.

In 2011 former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testified and said, "They have one of largest stockpiles in the world".

"As soon as North Korea complies with China's declared advice and suspends nuclear activities".

"We've got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a USA pre-emptive strike", he said.

Another nuclear test would invite tougher measures from Beijing, possibly including new restrictions on Chinese companies' investments in North Korea and cuts in the number of Chinese tourists allowed to visit, Mr Gui added. "So that's why. It's not the DPRK but the USA and Trump that makes trouble". Meanwhile, US Vice-President Mike Pence is likely to travel to South Korea soon in what can be seen as a sign of the USA commitment to its ally in the face of rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear program.

As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, Beijing appears alarmed by Trump's strident pronouncements as it tries to figure out how to manage the billionaire politician, who insists China handle the Pyongyang problem or suffer the consequences.

Many North Korea watchers believe the country could have a viable nuclear warhead and a ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland within the next few years.

In an interview published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, Trump said he told Chinese President Xi Jinping to let North Korea know that the U.S. has not only aircraft carriers but nuclear submarines. The 38 North website, which monitors North Korea, said that satellite imagery of the country's Pyunggye-ri nuclear test site suggests it is "primed and ready" for an explosion. He said China is willing to support any such effort.

The rising tension and the Trump administration's more assertive policy toward North Korea are apparently helping Abe's government gain public support for a stronger defense. That attack alarmed the North and was condemned as "unpardonable" by Pyongyang, which counts Syria as an ally. North Korea's military is also heavily dug in, meaning it could be hard to find and destroy key targets, or to secure the North's nuclear weapons even if its leadership were attacked.

The North's military might is likely to regain center stage on Saturday's anniversary, when a large-scale military parade is expected.

Another big military holiday comes on April 25, when its army marks its anniversary.

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