Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

South Korea on High Alert as Isolated North Prepares for Army Celebration

South Korea on High Alert as Isolated North Prepares for Army Celebration

Chinese air force land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers were put on high alert as Beijing is preparing to respond to a potential situation in North Korea, a United States defence official said.

Top envoys from the United States, South Korea and Japan on North Korea are due to meet on Tuesday, South Korea's foreign ministry said, to "discuss plans to rein in North Korea's additional high-strength provocations, to maximize pressure on the North, and to ensure China's constructive role in resolving the North Korea nuclear issue".

In an escalating war of words with the U.S., North Korea warned Thursday of a "super-mighty preemptive strike" that would reduce American military forces in South Korea and the U.S. mainland "to ashes", according to The Rodong Sinmun, official newspaper of North Korea's Workers' Party.

The United States and Russian Federation clashed at the United Nations on Wednesday over a US -drafted Security Council statement to condemn North Korea's latest failed ballistic missile test.

The proposed statement seen by AFP would have demanded that North Korea "conduct no further nuclear tests" and halt missile launches after Pyongyang carried out a failed test on Sunday.

Moon said he was willing to both negotiate with the North Korean regime and work with U.S. President Donald Trump toward those ends, as tensions between them are becoming an urgent security threat for Seoul.

North Korea also slammed US Vice President Mike Pence's recent warning to Pyongyang to not test US' military strength.

The North also tried but failed to launch what USA and South Korean officials said was a medium-range missile. While the US and South Korea assert that the anti-missile system is for defense, China believes the USA and South Korea have ulterior motives.

On Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told an audience of 2,500 US and Japanese military personnel on the flight of the USS Ronald Reagan that "storm clouds" are gathering on the horizon.

Standard policy - which calls for shooting down of a North Korean missile after launch if the trajectory is deemed to threaten South Korea, Japan or the USA - remains in place.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Thursday expressed "deep regret" at dissent among United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members over a US -drafted statement condemning North Korea's failed ballistic missile test on Sunday. It would also demand an immediate end to the North's nuclear and missile tests, threaten to take "further significant measures" - United Nations code for new sanctions - and state that North Korea's illegal activities "are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond".

She said that she wanted Pyongyang to see that the USA was not an aggressor.

According to reports, a full orchestra played alongside the video, which depicted missiles soaring over the Pacific and engulfing a city on the US west coast.

The Trump administration has signaled a forceful USA stance on North Korea's recent actions, dispatching Pence to the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea on Monday in a show of American resolve.

Carafano says President Trump's use of deadly force is meant to prevent conflict, not escalate it.

Reuters reported that Pence, speaking alongside South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, said the United States would stand by its "ironclad alliance" with South Korea.

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