Chinese president urges restraint on N. Korea in call with Trump

"Signs are detected that North Korea's military is conducting a large-scale drill around the eastern port city of Wonsan on the anniversary", the source said.

Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North Korean government's Central Committee, said in an editorial the country is ready to illustrate its "military force" by sinking the "nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike".

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un did not attend.

Speculation had mounted that the North could carry out a sixth nuclear test or another missile launch to mark 85 years since the founding of its army.

While Trump has dispatched what he called an "armada" of ships to the region, including an aircraft carrier, USA officials have told The Associated Press that the administration doesn't intend to militarily respond to a North Korean nuclear or missile test. "North Korea's unlawful weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to United States national security".

Behind the Trump administration's sudden urgency in dealing with the North Korean nuclear crisis lies a stark calculus: a growing body of expert studies and classified intelligence reports that conclude the country is capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks.

"North Korea's a big world problem, and it's a problem we have to finally solve".

The official China Daily said today it was time for Pyongyang and Washington to take a step back from harsh rhetoric and heed the voices of reason calling for a peaceful resolution.

Angered by the approach of the carrier group, which could arrive within days, North Korea said the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson was "an extremely unsafe act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade".

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping spoke on the phone on Sunday to address the continuing threat of North Korea.

On April 15, North Korea offered a fresh look at its advancing nuclear weapons and missiles program in a massive military parade in Pyongyang honoring late state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current ruler.

The USS Michigan, a guided missile submarine, has now arrived in South Korea.

Any missile test could test the North Korea policies of President Donald Trump, who has reportedly settled on a strategy that emphasises increased pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China, the North's only major ally.

The move against one of North Korea's major exports surprised some observers, but others said that it merely brought China in line with United Nations resolutions it agreed to previous year.

The navy said the joint exercises are aimed at demonstrating the two militaries' "strong resolve" to counter North Korea's threats and retaliate in case of provocations. For years, American presidents decided that each incremental improvement in the North's program - another nuclear test, a new variant of a missile - was worrisome, but not worth a confrontation that could spill into open conflict.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump agreed to urge North Korea to refrain from what Abe called provocative actions.

The submarine's arrival comes as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier heads toward the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.

"People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it's time to solve the problem", Trump said.

Mr Tillerson and US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will brief the entire US Senate on North Korea on Wednesday, unusually holding the meeting at the White House.

Japan's Foreign Ministry also announced that China's envoy for North Korea, Wu Dawei, is arriving in Tokyo on Tuesday for talks with Kanasugi, which may take place later this week.

Commentators said that Trump was backing himself into a corner over North Korea.

  • Joanne Flowers