North Korea quiet amid expectation of missile follow-up

There is also a possibility that North Korea, facing potential changes in regional dynamics as Washington presses Beijing to pressure North Korea more aggressively, opts to mark the anniversary with a missile launch of lesser magnitude. South Korea's Yonhap news agency earlier said that the exercise involved 300 to 400 artillery pieces, but an official from Seoul's Defense Ministry couldn't confirm such details.

The report, citing an unidentified government source, said the live-fire exercise was possibly supervised by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

But asked what would happen if North Korea tests an intercontinental missile or nuclear device, Haley said, "I think then the president steps in and decides what's going to happen".

Haley said the detentions are North Korea's effort to "have a bargaining chip" for talks with the U.S.

The vessel will take part in joint naval drills with the South's forces to "demonstrate Seoul and Washington's strong determination to punish North Korean provocations", the South Korean Navy said in a statement. "We completely agreed that we strongly demand restraint by North Korea, which has repeatedly taken risky provocative actions", Abe told reporters after the call.

The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson is among several US warships traveling to waters near the Korean Peninusula.

Trump on Monday urged UN Security Council ambassadors to consider stronger sanctions against Pyongyang, and U.S. senators will be briefed on North Korea at the White House on Wednesday.

Two other Americans are now held by North Korea.

North Korea has ambitions to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States mainland.

Trump's administration has adopted a "constructive" approach to NAFTA behind the scenes, despite headlines to the contrary, the head of the biggest US business lobby says in a speech in Mexico City. "The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programmes".

South Korean protesters stage a rally against U.S. deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

Matching the flurry of diplomatic and military activity in North Asia, the State Department in Washington said on Monday U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would chair a special ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council on North Korea on Friday.

"The United States should not run amok and should consider carefully any catastrophic effect from its foolish military provocative act", Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary.

Japan's foreign ministry announced that China's envoy for North Korea, Wu Dawei, will visit Tokyo on Tuesday for talks with Mr Kanasugi.

The nuclear-powered United States submarine USS Michigan also made a port call at Busan in the South on Tuesday in another show of force.

President Xi Jinping yesterday called for all sides to exercise restraint in relation to North Korea during a telephone call with US President Donald Trump.

Adding to the atmosphere of animosity, officials said North Korea has detained a third US citizen.

"Judging from their recent words and deeds, policymakers in Pyongyang have seriously misread the United Nations sanctions, which are aimed at its nuclear/missile provocations, not its system or leadership", the newspaper said in an editorial.

The three envoys also agreed that China has a key role in pressuring North Korea to abandon its missile and nuclear programs.

Kim said they discussed ways to get more cooperation from China and Russian Federation, which they agreed is crucial to applying effective pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Trump also spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for 30 minutes.

Confusion had clouded the carrier's whereabouts after Trump earlier indicated the "armada" was steaming towards North Korea when in fact it was heading south and was photographed off Java.

  • Larry Hoffman