NKorea says it will speed up nuke program in response to US

South Korea said the US had reaffirmed it would shoulder the cost of deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, days after US President Donald Trump said Seoul should pay for the US$1 billion battery created to defend against North Korea. If it's under ... the right circumstances. "But I would do that".

Military analysts have said North Korea is on course to develop a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile that could reach the US mainland as soon as 2020, during Trump's term in office.

Donald Trump has said that he "absolutely" would meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un under the right circumstances.

Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

Although the White House played down near-term prospects for such a meeting, Trump's conciliatory comments Monday marked a departure from his more unforgiving tone toward the North in recent weeks. I mean, we'll see.

On April 15, the 105th anniversary of the birthday of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung, North Korea attempted another test launch, but the missile appeared to explode on the launching pad, according to PaCom.

An official says a contentious US anti-missile system based in southeastern South Korea is operating and can defend against North Korean missiles.

"Clearly, conditions are not there right now", Spicer said. His nuclear programme gives him prestige at home.

Trump, who took office in January, had said during his presidential campaign he would be willing to meet with Kim.

Kim's predecessors weren't much more accessible or cooperative.

Senator John McCain, a leading Republican on foreign policy, said he did not believe Trump was considering a pre-emptive strike on North Korea.

In addition to the new THAAD system, South Korea also operates a Patriot PAC-3 missile defense system while Japan is upgrading its PAC-3 defenses and mulling a shore-based version of the Aegis missile-defense system used on Japanese ships.

In a CBS interview that was aired Sunday, Trump warned Pyongyang against testing new missiles or nuclear bombs.

The president has also said he is ready to act alone in the stand-off, however - and on Monday signalled that this could involve face-to-face talks with Kim, who has yet to meet a foreign leader since taking power.

Tensions are high over the North's nuclear and missile programmes - it has ambitions to develop a rocket that can deliver a warhead to the U.S. mainland - and threats on both sides have raised fears of conflict. North Korea, which condemns the drill as a rehearsal for invasion, has threatened to turn the aircraft carrier into a "giant heap of scrap metal" and "bury it in the sea". And that involves enforcement of the United Nations sanctions that are in place.

North Korean officials boycotted the meeting, which was chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "If there is to be any hope of getting Kim Jong Un back to the negotiating table to discuss denuclearization, the USA has to articulate a clear position". At the time, she was the most senior official to visit years since the Korean War.

  • Leroy Wright