North Korean official blames President Trump for region's 'vicious cycle'

"We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack", said Choe, widely seen by analysts as North Korea's No. 2 official.

The as-yet unidentified missile exploded on launch from a base in Sinpo, a city on the country's east coast, said the US.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, is calling on Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to immediately call the House back into session so that Congress can debate the missile strikes the Trump administration launched against the Syrian regime last week and the "saber-rattling on North Korea".

The North Korean military responded by pledging to launch a "preemptive strike" in the event of any "US provocation", as well as to target U.S. bases in South Korea, Japan and the USS Carl Vinson.

The U.S. Navy dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson strike group to the region last weekend, and U.S. President Donald Trump has been tweeting this week that if China can't rein in North Korea's nuclear program, the United States will.

Pence, on his first official visit to Asia as vice president, will visit South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia before stopping in Hawaii on the return leg of his 10-day trip. "We're going to consult with the Republic of Korea on North Korea's efforts to advance its ballistic missile and its nuclear program", the adviser said.

Its army vowed Friday a "merciless" response to any United States provocation, adding that Trump had "entered the path of open threat and blackmail" against Pyongyang.

"The most important message from the vice president on behalf of the president is that we have an ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the region, in their defense", Pence Press Secretary Marc Lotter said in an interview on ABC's "Powerhouse Politics" podcast ahead of the trip.

North Korea has spent decades trying to develop operational nuclear weapons.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket and conducted two nuclear tests past year, including its most powerful to date.

North Korea marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung, on Saturday with a huge parade in Pyongyang amid speculation that current leader Kim Jong-un could order a new nuclear test. That led North Korea to issue routine threats of attacks on its rivals if they show signs of aggression.

"We can infer given the size of the canister and the fact that it was paraded on Saturday that Pyongyang wants the world to know that it is actively working toward at least two types of solid-fuel, canisterized ICBMs", Panda wrote.

Along with the deployment of the US aircraft carrier and other vessels into waters off the Korean Peninsula, thousands of USA and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry were deployed last month in their biggest joint military exercises.

North Korea denounced the United States on Friday for bringing "huge nuclear strategic assets" to the Korean peninsula as a US aircraft carrier group headed for the region amid concerns the North may conduct a sixth nuclear test.

North Korea's ultimate goal is to have a full array of nuclear-tipped missiles in response to what Pyongyang says is hostility by Washington and Seoul meant to topple its government.

Japan, under its postwar constitution, has limited the role of its military to self-defense only and relied on the US for offensive and nuclear capability.

White House officials saying military options were "already being assessed".

Both China ("The situation now is similar to the time before a storm, and this kind of risky situation worth of our attention and we must be alert,") and Russian Federation (watching the developments around North Korea with "great concern") have weighed in on the increasingly tense saber-rattling occurring between the two nations.

Director of Jilin University's Institute of Northeast Asian Studies Guo Rui says President Donald Trump's domestic troubles should prevent him taking such action, while North Korea doesn't appear to be on a war footing.

  • Leroy Wright