Growing signs of NK missile test deal blow to engagement approach

"Should the USA dare to show even the slightest sign of attempt to remove our supreme leadership, we will strike a merciless blow at the heart of the USA with our powerful nuclear hammer, honed and hardened over time", the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports, citing a spokesperson of the North's foreign ministry.

"We were in a hurry, thinking we'd be too late".

Foreign media has been reporting that signs of a potential missile launch on Thursday have been detected in the North.

Speaking to a US Senate Foreign Affairs subcommittee Tuesday, Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of the State Department's East Asia bureau, said "the Chinese are now very clear that we're going to go after Chinese entities if need be". Last month, Trump tweeted that he wished "we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea from China, but that doesn't seem to be working out". Russian Federation regards the trade relationship as a means to safeguard its position with Kim in diplomacy to try to defuse the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

"The true test will be what (the Chinese) have worked out with Russian Federation (and whether) Russian Federation comes and tries to pull out of that".

The Korean People's Army (KPA) of North Korea gathered in Pyongyang for an oath-taking ceremony Tuesday, pledging their readiness to fight and win any battle to protect their homeland.

North Korea threatened Tuesday to launch a nuclear strike against the USA if it pursues regime change.

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The Russian Defense Ministry questioned Pyongyang's assertions that the missile was in effect an ICBM.

Thornton also said Washington was still considering whether to add North Korea back to the USA list of state sponsors of terrorism, from which it was removed in 2008 in exchange for progress in denuclearization talks. "This is what they demand from Russian Federation right now, very actively".

The United States officials have warned that North Korea is on the track of building intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that it may launch by next year, not the 2020 as was previously expected. That position hasn't changed after Putin and Trump met at this month's Group of 20 summit, he said. The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency in a confidential assessment concluded North Korea could have a "reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM" in 2018.

Last week, General Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying the most recent test did not show that North Korea possesses "the capacity to strike the United States with any degree of accuracy or reasonable confidence of success".

Since then there have been other ballistic missile and cruise missile tests, including one from a midget submarine in early May - a type of submarine used by both Iran and North Korea.

Haley told reporters she was pleased with the initial response from China on a United States proposal for new UN sanctions and said China had showed 'seriousness'.

Also at the conference, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, was asked if North Korea is now a member of the club of nations with nuclear weapons.

  • Sonia Alvarado