North Korea increases military expenditure, launches diplomatic committee

Nearly all coal shipments to the Chinese city of Dandong, on the North Korean border, since February have been turned back, a source with knowledge of North Korean government operations in Dandong told CNN.

PYONGYANG, April 13 Foreign journalists visiting North Korea gathered in Pyongyang for "a big and important event" on Thursday with tensions high over the possibility of a new weapons test by the isolated state and as a US carrier group sails towards the Korean peninsula.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the press that Mr Xi understands that "action has to be taken" to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

The unexpected telephone call came after Mr Trump tweeted: "North Korea is looking for trouble".

The warning followed President Trump's decision to send a U.S. Navy strike group, including an aircraft carrier, towards the Korean peninsula.

On Tuesday, the United States president tweeted that "North Korea is looking for trouble". China's foreign ministry said Xi insisted on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and advocated resolving the problem "through peaceful means".

North Korea has since warned that a nuclear attack on the USA would be imminent should the Trump administration show signs of aggression in the western Pacific.

North Korean officials provided no details about the nature of the event or its location, according to a report by Reuters.

US Vice President Mike Pence will meet Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on April 22 for talks that are expected to be centered on regional security and North Korea. In February, China suspended imports of coal from North Korea - a key source of foreign currency for Kim Jong Un's hard-line Communist regime.

There is speculation that the nation could be preparing a missile launch, or even another nuclear test, to mark the 105th birthday anniversary of its founder Kim Il-sung on Saturday. The US President has and is urging China to do more to reign in the North, .

"I think that the United States is saying to the North Korean elite, 'Look where this man has gotten you, '" he said. The U.S. and its allies have expressed alarm about the North's recent ballistic missile launches, including a four-rocket salvo last month it described as a practice to strike U.S. bases in Japan.

The North regularly threatens to destroy both countries.

Trump has repeatedly called on China to do more to rein in its unruly neighbor, which has stepped up its missile development and nuclear program since 2016.

Moon Jae-in, leader of the opposition Democratic Party and frontrunner to be the country's next President, said on Facebook that there "should never be a pre-emptive strike without South Korean consent".

The U.S. and other foreign governments have long overestimated China's ability to affect Pyongyang's behavior, said Ruan Zongze, a U.S. relations expert at the China Institute of International Studies, a think tank run by the foreign ministry.

  • Leroy Wright