China calls for restraint as US carrier group heads for Korean waters

China calls for restraint as US carrier group heads for Korean waters

The issue has gained added urgency as North Korea prepares to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the founding of its Korean People's Army today. From there, it could take three days to reach waters off the Korean peninsula.

Security experts have expressed concerns that Pyongyang may conduct its sixth nuclear test or test-fire an inter-continental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States mainland ahead of a key anniversary on Tuesday.

The North also said the presence of the MI would create a "touch-and-go" situation on the peninsula, with Rodong Shinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, writing on Monday, "If the enemies recklessly provoke the DPRK, its revolutionary armed forces will promptly give deadly blows to them and counter any total war with all-out war and nuclear war with a merciless nuclear strike of Korean style".

The White House has called a briefing for all 100 Senators on Wednesday, and US President Donald Trump decried the North's "continued belligerence" on a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, and labeled the country a "real threat to the world", Xi reportedly urged Trump to show restraint.

It added that USA imperialists should know the "earth will break" if the North's invincible nuclear force and five million youth league members vent their wrath. "What's only laid for aggressors is dead bodies". Trump, though, has praised Chinese efforts to rein in "the menace of North Korea".

Abe also said he and Trump agreed that China should play a large role in dealing with it.

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Trump also spoke by telephone with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"We completely agreed to strongly demand that North Korea, who's been repeatedly risky and provocative, show restraint", Abe told reporters Monday. "We will maintain close contact with the United States, keep a high level of vigilance and respond firmly".

Envoys on the North Korean nuclear issue from the United States, South Korea and Japan are due to meet in Tokyo on Tuesday. Earlier this month, it was diverted while en route to Australia and ordered to sail to a station in the Western Pacific Ocean in closer proximity to North Korea, according to Navy officials.

In another sign of the intense focus on Pyongyang in Washington, the White House is expected to host United States senators for a top-level briefing on North Korea on Wednesday, a White House official said.

Satellite imagery analysed by 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, found some activity at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site last week. The US has called on China to do more to help defuse the tension.

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