US, Japan Prepare For North Korea Nuclear Testing; 'Sniffer' Aircraft Deployed

In May, South Korea will hold presidential elections. "U.S.A." Trump tweeted.

On Wednesday morning, he said that he had a "very good call" with Xi the night before "concerning the menace of North Korea". The North vowed to take tough counteractions, calling the dispatch a "reckless" act.

Tensions have escalated further today after reports that Japan is planning to join a US Navy strike group in the waters off the Korean peninsula. "And so, the president has asked to be prepared to give him a full range of options to remove that threat the American people and to our allies and partners in the region".

The deployment was followed by a renewed warning that Washington was ready to take on North Korea alone if Beijing declined to help rein in its maverick neighbor's nuclear ambitions.

North Korea launched a rocket carrying a satellite on April 13, 2012, marking the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founding father Kim Il Sung.

"I hope the administration realizes that when Trump says, "if they won't do it, I will", which is the tone if not his exact words, it has to be consistent with what our regional allies can accept", Stevenson says.

China's Global Times newspaper said in an editorial that North Korea should halt any plan for nuclear and missile activities "for its own security".

Traditionally, China has been North Korea's biggest backer, and Trump has accused Beijing of not doing enough to help.

The White House was quick to dismiss the North Korean statement, with Sean Spicer insisting "there is no evidence North Korea has that capability at this time". North Korea reacted angrily, saying it was "ready for war" and and accused the USA of a "reckless" provocation through its increased presence.

China's State-run news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday that Xi told Trump that China sticks to the target of the "denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" and that China is committed to peace and stability in the region.

"The phone call is part of the presidential communication mechanism between China and the United States, which I think we will see more, and this time also a crisis management measure", said Cai Jian, a Korean affairs specialist from Fudan University.

North Korea has launched several missile tests this year, the latest on April 5 when it fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast.

"China is willing to maintain close communication and coordination with the United States side", Mr Xi said.

The reported plans to join US warships for drills is an attempt to show the USA that it is not acting alone in Asia, says Ramon Pacheco Pardo, senior lecturer in International Relations at King's College London.

  • Leroy Wright