UN strongly condemns North Korean missile launch after delay

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

The official said the United States also has seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness.

The U.S. Air Force dispatched a nuclear sniffer aircraft Thursday to the east of the Korean Peninsula amid the possibility of North Korea's imminent nuclear test, a government source said.

It further reported that Tokyo will work out a plan to evacuate Japanese nationals in conjunction with USA evacuations, as it assumed Washington would begin operations to evacuate Americans in South Korea in advance, should the Pentagon launch a pre-emptive attack on the North.

On April 14, US media reported that US President Donald Trump might order a strike against North Korea should Pyongyang decide to carry out another nuclear weapon test.

"The members of the Security Council expressed their utmost concern over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council by conducting this ballistic missile launch in violation of its global obligations", a statement read.

The North has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.

North Korea seemingly made a subtle warning to China on Saturday of catastrophic consequences to their bilateral relations, as it asked Beijing not to step up sanctions. Vice President Mike Pence, on a tour of the region, warned this week that "the era of strategic patience is over" when it comes to USA policy toward North Korea.

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According to Quartz, there are two times in history that the Korean Peninsula could be mistaken for being part of China.

South Korean presidential candidates clashed on Wednesday night in a debate over the planned deployment in South Korea of a US-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system, which has angered China.

North Korea said late on Friday the state of affairs on the Korean peninsula was "extremely perilous" because of "madcap American nuclear war manoeuvres aimed at trampling on our sovereignty and right to survival".

The U.S. president met earlier this month with Xi and urged him to do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

What is our goal with North Korea?

Hwang Kyoahn, South Korea's acting president, called for military and security ministries to remain vigilant in a meeting Thursday with top officials.

North Korea is a significant supplier of coal to China, especially of the type used for steel making, known as coking coal.

The U.S. had accused Russian Federation of blocking the statement Wednesday, CBS News' Pamela Falk reported.

  • Adam Floyd