Korea conducts large-scale firing drill near east coast

North Korea conducted a large-scale, live-fire military drill on Tuesday morning in yet another show of force.

The South's trumpeting of progress on setting up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, comes as high-powered U.S. military assets converge on the Korean Peninsula and as a combative North Korea signals possible nuclear and missile testing.

They are capable of precision strikes against the North's nuclear facilities, but the South Korean Navy called the visit "routine" and said the submarine would not take part in any joint exercises.

On Monday, he said dictator Kim Jong Un isn't as strong as he claims to be, and he blamed the worldwide community for not doing more to rein him in. "The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs".

Such a move could test the developing North Korea policies of President Donald Trump, who has reportedly settled on a strategy that emphasizes increased pressure on North Korea with the help of China, the North's only major ally, instead of military options or trying to overthrow North Korea's government.

As the carrier group drills continued, the USS Michigan arrived in the South Korean port of Busan on Tuesday, the U.S. Navy said.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshide Suga, told a media briefing that China's nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, would also hold talks with Japanese Foreign Ministry officials on Tuesday.

In Washington, top Trump administration officials are due to brief the entire U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

The official China Daily said today it was time for North Korea and the United States to take a step back from strong rhetoric and heed the voices of reason calling for a peaceful resolution.

The warning followed a conversation between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, who has put pressure on China to "properly deal" with its ally's continued violations of United Nations sanctions.

North Korea has been warned not to go past the "point of no return" with another nuclear test by China, as the US and South Korea carry out high-profile military exercises.

North Korea poses one the sternest national security challenges facing the 3-month-old Trump administration.

China accounts for about 90% of North Korea's total trade.

Recent U.S. commercial satellite images indicate increased activity around North Korea's nuclear test site, and third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un has said the country's preparation for an ICBM launch is in its "final stage".

"If you do this kind of ratcheting (up) of rhetorical tensions but also sending military hardware into the region, if you do that absent of any kind of offramp or door or window for the North Koreans to consider walking through and reengaging in any sort of discussions, bad things are going to happen", he added.

"If the USA and warmongers run amok with a reckless preemptive strike, we will stage the most brutal punishment of a preemptive attack in the sky and land as well as at sea and from underwater without any warning or prior notice", according to Rodong Sinmun, spokesman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

Princeton University professor Aaron Friedberg said North Korea could begin with a massive artillery barrage against Seoul, and unleash special forces and chemical and biological weapons, even if that would lead to the annihilation of Kim Jong Un's North Korean dictatorship.

  • Leroy Wright