North Korea prepares 'pre-emptive strike' in wake of USA 'recklessness'

On Thursday, NBC reported that "multiple senior US intelligence officials" had said that the USA was prepared "to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test".

The North's warning, carried by its state-run KCNA news agency, came as leader Kim Jong-un arrived at Pyongyang's main Kim Il-sung Square, named after his grandfather, for a military parade marking the "Day of the Sun".

Han warned that North Korea has a "powerful nuclear deterrent" in hand and "will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a USA pre-emptive strike".

China warned on Friday that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could spin out of control, as North Korea said it could test a nuclear weapon at any time and an American naval group neared the peninsula in a show of resolve.

The Institute for Science and International Security cited a worrying increase in North Korea's nuclear program, but said the arsenal may only have been as large as 13 atomic weapons at the end of 2016. "No one can become a victor", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday.

Recently North Korea condemned the USA strike on a Syrian airfield as "an unforgivable act of aggression" and justified its nuclear weapons developments as "the right choice a million times over" because of it.

The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier has been diverted back to the waters off Korea after heading for Australia, and USA satellite imagery suggests the North could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

A USA military official, who requested anonymity to discuss planning, said the United States doesn't intend to use military force against North Korea in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch.

"We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage", said Mr Wang.

The Global Times said Trump's decision to drop the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan was clearly "a new gimmick in United States military deterrence" created to intimidate Kim Jong-un. "It might take a little more time than they want to, but there is no show of just models to deceive anyone".

"We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks", he said. U.S., South Korean and other officials are closely monitoring the North amid indications it could conduct another missile test or nuclear explosion to coincide with an important national anniversary this weekend.

He added: "We will go to war if they choose".

"The bottom line is North Korea has got to change its behavior, that is an agreed position among the worldwide community, nations that are working together on this", Secretary of Defense James Mattis said. But on Thursday he was hedging his bets: "I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea". The country said it could test a nuclear weapon whenever its current leader, Kim Jong Un, decided.

The source said: 'News of cadres of the second army corps slandering Kim Jong-un reached all the way to the People's Army's General Political Bureau, and the arrested cadres are to be severely punished'.

The ministry issued a statement saying North Korea will face strong punishment it will find hard to withstand if it makes a significant provocation, such as another nuclear test or an ICBM launch. An aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force.

There is also considerable Chinese anger about South Korea's deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system, which Seoul says it needs to protect against rising belligerence from North Korea, but China believes will be used strategically against its missiles.

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