Japan's Abe agrees to keep close contact with United States on North Korea

In response to the report, South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Duck-haeng said on Monday, during a regular news briefing, that since the article does not officially represent the Chinese government, it's hard to say that Beijing officially announced its approval of a strike.

The United States has not specified where the carrier strike group is as it approaches the area.

There is speculation the North may conduct another test to mark the 85th anniversary of the founding of its Korean People's Army (KPA) on Tuesday.

Envoys on the North Korean nuclear issue from the United States, South Korea and Japan are due to meet in Tokyo on Tuesday.

North Korea said Monday its "precise and advanced" nuclear weapons capable of striking USA military bases in Asia-Pacific areas and the US homeland are fully prepared to be fired from launchers on the eve of the anniversary of the foundation of North Korea's military.

State newspaper Minju Joson quoted what it called military sources as saying Washington plans to station "several nuclear carrier task forces" off the Korean peninsula this week.

"What's only laid for aggressors is dead bodies", it continued.

On Saturday US Vice President Mike Pence said in Sydney the strike group would arrive in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) "in a matter of days".

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, speaking on NBC's "Today" programme, said the United States and the worldwide community were maintaining pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but were "not trying to pick a fight with him". The statement said that Seoul and Washington have been pushing to get THAAD working soon to cope with North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats.

The paper likened the aircraft carrier to a "gross animal" and said a strike on it would be "an actual example to show our military's force".

Two Japanese destroyers have joined the carrier group for exercises in the western Pacific, and South Korea said on Monday it was also in talks about holding joint naval exercises.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, front, leads the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain in the Indian ocean April 14, 2017.

During a trip to Asia last week, Vice President Mike Pence assured Japanese lawmakers that the US would offer an "overwhelming and effective" response to any North Korean aggression against Japan, CNN reported.

China regularly labels North Koreans as illegal "economic migrants" and repatriates them based on a border protocol adopted in 1986.

The detention of a third American is likely to stoke what are already heightened tensions between the US and North Korea.

  • Leroy Wright