US Confident It Can Intercept Any North Korean Missile

Trump told reporters that he thinks China will "want to be stepping up" in trying to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions. What people may not know is the North Koreans have shown some interest in suspending their nuclear and missile programs in return for the USA addressing their security concerns.

Tensions in the Asia-Pacific region have been heightened since President Donald Trump said he would take a tougher stance on Pyongyang than his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, and a series of military exercises held last month between the USA and South Korea not far from North Korean territory.

"I have no feelings about the South Korean players", he said.

Brancaccio: One of the reasons it's just so confounding, right - there may have been this impulse by this new president to do some talking, yet the North Koreans do stuff that can lower the chances of talking.

North Korea is ready to deliver the "most ruthless blow" if provoked by the United States, its ambassador to Moscow said on Thursday, after President Trump pledged to keep building up defences against Pyongyang.

North Korea also claimed the joint exercises were a practice drill preparing for the assassination of Kim Jong Un.

"The U.S. missile attack against Syria is a clear and unforgivable act of aggression against a sovereign state and we strongly condemn this", KCNA quoted an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry as saying.

One official who was part of the NSC review said he doesn't think deploying nukes to South Korea amid the "war today" state the USA now faces with North Korea "buys more for us than it costs". Most recently, it failed in its attempt to launch a missile from near Wonsan on its east coast on March 22.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is hosting China's President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort.

Although China's state media went strong on photos and coverage of the Xi-Trump summit, it gave little space to news of the strikes against Syria, with few editorials or commentaries.

On February 11, Pyongyang said it had successfully tested a new ballistic missile powered by a solid-fuel engine.

But China is reluctant to go too far due to its fears that a North Korean regime collapse could lead to a refugee crisis and possibly bring USA forces closer to its borders. The sanctions to be extended include a ban on Japanese port calls by North Korean-registered ships.

North Korea has shown signs of preparing for a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the US mainland, and a sixth nuclear test.

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Chang Yong-Seok, a senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification at Seoul National University, said Kim's son, current leader Kim Jong-Un, had no reason to take such precautions.

A White House official, who briefed reporters on Tuesday about the upcoming two-day meeting, said North Korea is "a matter of urgent interest" for Trump, and Washington feels that "the clock is very, very quickly running out".

  • Leroy Wright