US sets up missile defence in S. Korea as North shows power

But both sides showed off their military might as diplomats from Japan, South Korea and the United States met in Tokyo to discuss the growing threat from the communist state.

The announcement of the temporary suspension drew attention during a period of heightened tensions between the USA and North Korea.

Armed with tactical missiles and equipped with superior communications capabilities, the MI is one of four US Navy subs that began service as a ballistic missile submarine, loaded with nuclear missiles as part of the US strategic nuclear deterrent.

The latest bilateral maritime exercises come as North Korea conducted large-scale, live-fire drills Tuesday numbering 300 to 400 pieces of artillery near the eastern port city of Wonsan, South Korea's military said. All that was publicly scheduled for the day were gatherings for mass dancing, a common celebration on major North Korean holidays.

Among key officials in attendance were Kim Won-hong, a former spy chief who was reportedly dismissed in mid-January, it said.

Under the watch of Kim, North Korea has been aggressively pursuing a decades-long goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland.

There is also a possibility that North Korea, facing potential changes in regional dynamics as Washington presses Beijing to pressure North Korea more aggressively, opts to mark the anniversary with a missile launch of lesser magnitude.

"The more that we can solve this diplomatically and continue to apply pressure on China and other countries to use the political and economic tools that they have to achieve a goal in stabilization in the region, but also to tamp down the threat that North Korea faces, I think that that is something that we all share", said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

South Korea's Defense Ministry has said North Korea appears ready to conduct such "strategic provocations" at any time.

The drills were held as the country commemorated the 85th anniversary of the founding of North Korean army, a significant date in the country's calendar.

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The USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine, arrived Tuesday at the South Korean port of Busan for what was described as a routine visit to rest crew and load supplies. Cmdr. Jang Wook from the South Korean navy public affairs office said there is no plan for any drill.

South Korea's navy is planning to hold joint naval drills with USA aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson battle group, which has trained with Japanese destroyers in recent days, around the weekend.

"The twisted reality is that China is doing all of this to stop the deployment of a missile defense system, which is only necessary because China has aided and abetted North Korea for decades", he said. China's official broadcaster CCTV quoted President Xi Jinping telling Trump that China strongly opposed North Korea's nuclear weapons program and hoped "all parties will exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation".

"The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable", Trump told a meeting with the 15 U.N. Security Council ambassadors, including China and Russian Federation, at the White House. The military exercise comes in the backdrop of a United States nuclear-powered submarine arriving in South Korea to join the USA "armada" in the region.

"The joint exercise is to show US and South Korea's strong will to retaliate and its firm defense posture against North Korea's provocative threat", it added.

The state-owned carrier said April 14 that it was suspending flights to North Korea's capital Pyongyang because of poor sales.

Asked about the threshold for USA action, Haley told American broadcaster NBC that "if you see him attack a military base, if you see some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile, then obviously we're going to do that".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not attend.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshide Suga, told a media briefing that China's nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, would hold talks with Japanese Foreign Ministry officials on Tuesday.

Kim said the roles of China and Russian Federation are crucial to apply pressure effectively on North Korea toward its denuclearization.

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