Japan, US, S. Korea to exert greater pressure on N. Korea

According to Yonhap news agency, a government source said the country had deployed a large number of long-range artillery units and conducted a large- scale live firing drill in the port of Wonsan on its east coast.

Xi told Trump that China strongly opposes North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which violates U.N. Security Council resolutions, and hopes "all parties will exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation" on the Korean Peninsula, China's official broadcaster CCTV said.

Trump also spoke by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who told reporters yesterday: "We'll maintain close contact with the U.S. and high level of monitoring and surveillance as we respond firmly on North Korea".

South Korea's Navy said it was conducting a live-fire exercise with U.S. Navy destroyers on Tuesday in waters west of the Korean peninsula and would soon join the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group approaching the region.The carrier group was sent to the region as a warning to North Korea and a show of solidarity with U.S. allies.

Joseph Yun told reporters that China has a "very, very important role" to play in the denuclearization effort.

The nuclear-powered U.S. submarine USS Michigan also made a port call at Busan in the South on Tuesday in another show of force, while United States navy destroyers carried out separate joint exercises with Japanese and South Korean vessels.

Trump sent the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group for exercises off the Korean peninsula as a warning to North Korea and a show of solidarity with USA allies.

The DPRK tended to mark significant dates by displaying its military capability.

Around 30,000 American troops are stationed in South Korea as part of a military strategy that Pyongyang condemns as a preparation for war.

They also agreed to closely coordinate moves in the event of further provocations by the reclusive state and to urge China, North Korea's main diplomatic and economic benefactor, to use its influence to curb North Korea's nuclear and missiles development. The nuclear-powered submarine is built to carry and launch ballistic missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Japan's envoy on North Korea, Kenji Kanasugi, said after talks with his USA and South Korean counterparts that they 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.

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

With U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at his side (L), U.S. President Donald Trump receives applause after speaking at a working lunch with ambassadors of countries on the UN Security Council at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2017. Cmdr. Jang Wook from South Korean navy public affairs said there was no plan for a drill.

The nuclear-powered USS Michigan submarine arrived at Busan in what was described as a routine port visit to rest the crew and load supplies. "North Korea is a big world problem, and it's a problem we have to finally solve". It is expected to arrive by the end of April.

The US leader spoke about North Korea in telephone conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday and with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, the White House said.

Emerging from talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, the USA envoy for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun, said: "As we discuss these things all our steps and every part of them will be in coordination and consultation with our partners". Kim also said those present recognized Pyongyang's ally China's recent steps toward that goal.

The arrival of the USS Michigan coincides with intense media speculation that North Korea will conduct a nuclear or ballistic missile test to mark its Military Foundation Day.

"The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programmes", Trump said.

  • Zachary Reyes