Asian markets lower, rattled by rising tensions in Koreas

Kim's tempestuous rhetoric increased over the last two months and was directed at the US and South Korea, who were conducting their annual military drills that the North considers preparations for war or an invasion.

"Yields declined, and we're seeing a softening of the dollar", said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at the private client group of U.S. Bank in Helena, Montana.

But Han said it was prepared for provocative acts.

North Korea's vice foreign minister says, "We will go to war" if the USA chooses to provoke it.

"This has been going on for 60 years, but at the same time, every leader tends to become much more dominating in terms of the way they pressure the North Korean people, the way they go after those that they suspect of trying to be disloyal to the leader", said Panetta.

North Korea was accused of using VX nerve agent in the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Foreign journalists visiting North Korea gather in Pyongyang for what is rumored to be "a big and important event".

Vice Minister Han Song Ryol made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang on Friday.

"If there was military action now, pre-emptive say from the USA side, that would have a big impact on South Korea's willingness to handle the US military presence in the future", Mitchell said.

Investors were selling shares that they once believed would benefit from U.S. President Donald Trump's stimulus and deregulation policies, as they grew disenchanted with the prospects that he could push them through the Congress quickly.

"Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words".

"By deploying the USS Carl Vinson, Trump is probably trying to show off USA power to North Korea".

The tensions around the Korean Peninsula have risen in the recent days amid concern the North Korea4n government could be on the verge of going through with its sixth nuclear test.

A spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry said: "We will hold the USA wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions".

USA retail sales for March are expected to come in at a seven-month low of zero after edging up just 0.1 percent in February.

Naval vessels will "search, detect and track a mock submarine, and exchange relevant information", the South Korean Defense Ministry said following the drill. Pyongyang, meanwhile, recently launched a ballistic missile and some experts say it could conduct another nuclear test at virtually anytime.

On Thursday, Trump said North Korea is a problem that "will be taken care of", while expressing hope that China will "work very hard" to help Washington in solving it. Corrects spelling of Gou.

  • Joanne Flowers