North Korea's dictator defiant amid likely nuclear test preps

Senior US intelligence officials have reportedly told NBC News the US is prepared to launch a pre-emptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea if the country appears set to follow through with a nuclear weapons test.

When Chinese leader Xi Jinping met Trump in Florida last week, the USA urged China to block North Korea's access to the worldwide financial system by cracking down on banks and companies that deal with it.

"I don't know if this sends a message to North Korea", he said. "We used to trade all metals here, gold, silver, iron ore powder from North Korea - just not copper, they keep it there for military use". "North Korea must understand that the only path to a secure, economically-prosperous future is to abandon its development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other weapons of mass destruction", an administration official told Fox Business Network.

The United States, Toner added, can no longer engage in long-term approaches and needs to find short-term solutions.

North Korea's continued nuclear and missile testing programme has prompted the U.S. to send a navy carrier group to near the Korean peninsula in a show of force aimed at detering more tests.

On Tuesday, Japan said it was planning to conduct joint drills with the USA carrier strike group in what is seen as a show of force to deter North Korea from launching any missiles.

"And, as I said, I really think that China is going to try very hard, and has already started", Trump said. "U.S.A." Trump tweeted Thursday.

On the ride in from the airport, we saw the North Koreans getting ready for what's expected to be a big military parade this weekend, celebrating what would have been the 105th birthday of the country's founder.

The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim watched over special forces as they dropped from light transport planes "like hail" and "mercilessly blew up enemy targets".

Separately on Twitter he expressed confidence China, Pyongyang's sole ally, would "properly deal with North Korea".

China's Ministry of Defence issued a statement on its website denying widely circulating reports that the People's Liberation Army has deployed 150,000 troops to the border with North Korea, labelling the troop build-up "a fabrication".

North Korean soldiers at a ceremony in Pyongyang in July 2013 marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. State media warned the U.S. Tuesday of a nuclear attack at any sign of American aggression.

At one logistics centre for metal shipments visited by Reuters, workers were busy unloading North Korean trucks arriving from across the border.

"Whoever provokes the situation, whoever continues to make trouble in this place, they will have to assume historical responsibility", Wang said.

There are probably some specialists on China and North Korea in the bowels of the State Department who could have caught him up on that before the summit with Xi. Weapons expert Markus Schiller told CNN last week the Musudan is likely North Korea's most domestically developed missile, unlike others that are based on Soviet or Chinese designs, making it a key point of pride for the regime.

  • Leroy Wright