Japan, US on high alert over N. Korea

Yonhap said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un likely observed what was one of the country's largest artillery drills.

South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, the country's acting leader, has instructed his military to strengthen its "immediate response posture" in case North Korea does something significant on Tuesday's anniversary. "People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it's time to solve the problem", he said at the White House.

The North Korean state newspaper claimed to have weaponry that "can reach continental U.S. and Asia Pacific region" and the "absolute weapon", or a nuclear hydrogen bomb.

Fears have mounted in recent weeks that North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or another missile launch.

Nuclear aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson is expected to arrive at the Korean peninsula today in a bid to prevent the North testing any more nukes or missiles.

Fresh off an huge North Korean parade that revealed an arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles, rival South Korea and its allies are bracing for the possibility that Pyongyang's follow-up act will be even bigger. She praised China's increased pressure on North Korea.

Last year, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests, which would have improved its knowledge in making nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

Tension on the Korean Peninsula was high on the anniversary, with US and South Korean missile destroyers also due to hold a live-fire exercise in the western sea on the North Korean border.

The deployment comes a week after confusion about U.S. President Donald Trump's "armada" of military vessels that he had promised to send to the Peninsula, with the USS Carl Vinson spotted in Indonesia when officials had said it was heading toward Korea.

USA representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun met Tuesday with his Japanese counterpart Kenji Kanasugi and Kim Hong-kyun of South Korea.

Kanasugi said after talks with his USA and South Korean counterparts that they all agreed China should take a concrete role to resolve the crisis and it could use an oil embargo as a tool to press the North.

"The situation prevailing on the Korean peninsula is so tense that a nuclear war may break out due to the frantic war drills of the USA imperialists and their vassal forces for aggression", Gen. Pak Yong Sik said at a "national meeting" of thousands of senior military and civilian officials.

Wu Dawei, Beijing's envoy on North Korean issues, is in Tokyo to hold talks with Japanese officials on Tuesday. Instead, the North held a "large-scale" long-range artillery drill in the eastern port city of Wonsan, the JCS added.

In an editorial from its state-run Rodong Shinmun, North Korea continued to reiterate its bellicose rhetoric against the U.S., saying they have all the "commitment and capability" to respond to any military confrontation.

Relations between North Korea and the US and South Korea have deteriorated in recent months, as the rhetoric and military posturing on both sides has increased.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said those meetings called by USA officials clearly reflected the US pressure that could "ignite a full-out war" on the Korean peninsula.

On Friday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will attend a special ministerial meeting of the Security Council in a bid to form a united front among the members to deal decisively with any further missile or nuclear provocations from North Korea.

So where can North Korea now hit with their missiles?

  • Leroy Wright