Seoul: US defence system can stop Kim's missiles

Hours before the launch, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chaired a U.N. Security Council meeting devoted to the North Korea issue and called for new sanctions against Pyongyang. "People are saying, 'Is he sane?' I have no idea", the president said.

When asked at the weekend how he would respond to fresh North Korean provocations, such as another nuclear test, Trump told CBS Saturday, "I don't know".

North Korea said the bombers conducted "a nuclear bomb-dropping drill against major objects" in its territory at a time when Trump and "other U.S. warmongers are crying out for making a pre-emptive nuclear strike" on the North.

A man watches a TV news program reporting about North Korea's missile firing with a file footage, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 29, 2017.

The visit comes after North Korea conducted another missile test on Saturday, and a USA aircraft carrier group was in nearby waters.

The president also emphasized China's role in putting pressure on North Korea and said he has established a good relationship with President Xi Jinping.

In a phone call requested by the US, Trump's national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, "explained that the recent statements by President Trump were made in a general context, in line with the US public expectations on defense cost burden-sharing with allies", the South Korean president's office said.

US and South Korean officials said the launch apparently failed, with the missile breaking apart a few minutes after launch. "This is something that we know we can not tolerate".

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country would adhere to past United Nations resolutions and wants a denuclearized Korean peninsula, but spelled out no further punitive steps his government might consider — despite Tillerson's assertions in an interview hours ahead of the council meeting that Beijing would impose sanctions of its own if North Korea conducts another nuclear test.

The launch comes at a point of particularly high tension in the region.

America's Central Intelligence Agency director is making an unannounced visit to South Korea, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul confirmed Monday, amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The deployment of the USS Michigan submarine and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group near the Korean peninsula "is aimed at further intensifying threats against our republic", it added.

It says that during recent U.S. A few residents were injured or fainted from the scuffle and were taken to a hospital. "They certainly don't want to see nuclear on - from their neighbor", he said of China.

Critics question whether the United States and Seoul's caretaker government are rushing to set up Thaad before an election on May 9 that will bring a change in the government which became necessary after Park Geun-hye was impeached and ousted from the presidency in a corruption scandal.

"So obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie", he said. McMaster said Sunday that the matter is subject to negotiation.

  • Larry Hoffman