Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

US Considers Limited Options on N.Korea Nuclear Threat

"With every test, even a failed one, the North Korean scientists learn about their program", she said.

North Korea's state television aired footage of a choral performance attended by Kim Jong Un, the elder Kim's grandson, on Sunday, a day after a huge military parade in Pyongyang, which also marked the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung.

There has been some confusion over the whereabouts of a USA aircraft carrier group after Trump said last week that he had sent an "armada" as a warning to North Korea even as the ships were still far from Korean waters. The new version has an improved booster and warhead.

"The USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group, which includes Aegis-equipped destroyers, is headed for the Korean peninsula", the report noted. He said the USA and its allies would deal with the situation "through peaceable means or ultimately by whatever means are necessary". That program has also been in existence for over a decade, but only about half the tests have been successful, according to the Defense Department.

Reuters reported that Pence, speaking alongside Hwang, said Washington would stand by its "ironclad alliance" with South Korea.

In the upcoming test, a missile will be launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and attempt to intercept a simulated missile over the Pacific Ocean.

The review of military options is essentially "due diligence", the official said.

There was also a warning to China regarding the South China Sea, where Beijing has built reefs and islets into fortified islands capable of hosting military assets to bolster its claim to sovereignty over the sea.

The official emphasized that all of the ongoing work doesn't change the administration - and Pentagon's - emphasis on the need for a peaceful diplomatic solution.

It was the first time a senior USA official has mentioned the possibility of relisting the North as a terrorism sponsor.

A ranking US senator said the USA should launch a preemptive strike on North Korea if that's what it takes to stop Pyongyang from building a missile capable of hitting America, even though such military action would mean war.

He also vowed that more of America's most advanced military assets would be deployed to the Asia-Pacific. Multiple US officials said all current anti-missile ships and other ground-based interceptors in Alaska are available.

There are also chances that United States might convince Japan to use its own missile-defense capabilities against a ballistic missile test traversing Japanese waters.

Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation "under control" with the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula.

"While all options are on the table, President (Donald) Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region and with China to achieve a peaceable resolution and the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", Mr Pence said before lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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