NKorea says it will speed up nuke program in response to US

President Trump said after North Korea's latest failed rocket launch that communist leader Kim Jong-Un will eventually develop better missiles, and "we can't allow it to happen".

On Saturday, U.S. warships attached to the USS Carl Vinson strike group began bilateral naval drills with the South Korean navy, hours after Pyongyang's latest ballistic missile test.

In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday Mr Trump said: "If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honoured to do it".

"Most political people would never say that", Trump said. "But I'm telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him".

Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang Gyun said Tuesday the Terminal High Altitude Defense system, or THAAD, at a converted golf course in Seongju has "early capability" to respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile threat.

Spokesman Sean Spicer said Washington wants to see the North end its provocative behaviour immediately, adding: "Clearly conditions are not there right now".

Reclusive North Korea has carried out five nuclear tests and a series of missile tests in defiance of UN Security Council and unilateral resolutions.

Further complicating matters, Trump stunned Seoul last week when he suggested South Korea should pay for the $1 billion THAAD system. But the risk of North Korean retaliation directed at South Korea, a USA ally, was too great.

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United States officials said a medium-range KN-17 missile, launched last week, appeared to have broken up within minutes and did not leave North Korean territory. Two-month long U.S. -South Korean joint military drills were due to conclude on Sunday, U.S. and South Korean officials said.

U.S. senator John McCain said Donald Trump should consider a pre-emptive strike against North Korea but it must be the "ultimate last option".

The president's latest comments on North Korea came as his Central Intelligence Agency director, Mike Pompeo, was in South Korea, where tens of millions of people live within artillery range of the northern border.

Speaking to NPR last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated the U.S. is willing to engage in talks with Pyongyang, a possibility dismissed in April by Vice President Mike Pence until North Korea denuclearizes.

US President Donald Trump on Monday told the Washington Examiner, "North Korea weighs on me, but we have to be prepared for the worst..."

THAAD was deployed to South Korea by the USA in response to North Korea's increased missile and nuclear tests, but the defence system has drawn sharp opposition from China and Russian Federation as their territories are within the system's range, CNN reported. "It's opening a dialogue", Trump said.

While this means it can not act against the type of intermediate-range missiles North Korea has been testing in recent months, THAAD also includes a sophisticated radar that will fit into an overlapping series of U.S. missile defense systems, including Aegis warships operating in the Pacific and Patriot missile batteries deployed to Japan.

"At a very young age, he was able to assume power". Historically, there have been no diplomatic relations between the two nations. China considers the system a threat to its own security, while critics in South Korea allege that the United States is scrambling to set up the system before that country can hold a presidential election on May 9 that might lead to a decision to halt its use altogether. Spicer didn't mention that under Kim, North Korea's government remains strictly authoritarian and dissent isn't tolerated.

  • Sonia Alvarado