South Korea on heightened alert as isolated North readies for army celebration

Kim Jong-un has threatened the US with a nuclear missile strike

China is seriously concerned about nuclear threats after North Korea said they would test missiles regularly and warned of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S. in case they suspected an attack.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday condemned North Korea's latest missile test and demanded Pyongyang not conduct any more nuclear tests in a statement that was delayed as the United States and Russian Federation sparred over its language.

"We have reached the final stage of preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile", Kim said, adding that, "Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing".

US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated his country's commitment to the security of Japan yesterday, as North Korea intensified concerns over its weapons programme with a vow to launch missile tests "every week".

U.S. defence officials told CNN News that the tests have been in the pipeline as part of the military's overall ballistic missile defence programme in the wake of North Korean or Iranian threats.

Donald Trump's deputy is in the region to reassure allies fretting over Pyongyang's quickening missile program, and its apparent readiness to carry out another banned nuclear test in its quest to develop an atomic weapon that can hit the United States mainland.

North Korea test-fired what the United States believed was a mid-range missile on Sunday.

A fresh United States warning by Vice President Mike Pence has come with references to USA actions in Syria and Afghanistan and could, therefore, mean that Washington may not shy away from taking a similar action against North Korea.

Lu made the remark after U.S. President Donald Trump was quoted by the Associated Press as urging the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to seek a peaceful solution.

Mr Mattis condemned the attempted missile launch as he began a Middle East tour, telling reporters travelling with him to Saudi Arabia: "The leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile".

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Nuclear weapons specialist Denny Roy calculated how many casualties may appear as a result of North Korea's nuclear attack on the United States. The resolutions ban the country from conducting nuclear tests and using ballistic missile technology. The strike group was now heading to the Western Pacific "as a prudent measure" following a "curtailed" period of training with Australia, U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Commander Dave Benham said on Wednesday.

Such statements are agreed by consensus.

USA officials said there was a higher-than-usual level of activity by Chinese bombers, signalling a possible heightened state of readiness by Beijing, reclusive North Korea's sole major ally, although the officials played down concerns and left open a range of possible reasons.

The term "reckless" is one the North Koreans have used to describe continuing large-scale US and South Korean military exercises, which the North calls a dress rehearsal for an invasion.

The country's United Nations envoy, Kim In Ryong, said this week that the US had pushed the Korean Peninsula to the "brink of war".

"Now I'm put in a position where he actually has nuclear and we're gonna have to do something about it", Trump said.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley separately stressed that the onus was on North Korea to prevent an escalation.

South Korea's acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn called on the military and security agencies to maintain vigilance.

He pointed to North Korea's "provocative words and actions" and the upcoming army foundation day.

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