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North Korea warns of nuclear strike against US if aggression continues

dw.com logo dw.com 2017-04-12 kbd/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

© Provided by Deutsche Welle ZA North Korea is not backing down from its threats against the US. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said the US would be willing to "solve the problem" alone.

After the US sent warships towards the Korean peninsula, including a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, North Korean state media said on Tuesday the country would launch a nuclear attack in case of any further aggression.

"Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the US invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the US mainland," according to a statement in the "Rodong Sinmun" official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.

The announcement comes on the heels of the opening of North Korea's parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly on Tuesday. The country's leader, Kim Jong Un, was in the center seat. The session began what are expected to be major celebrations, including the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea's first leader Kim Il Sung on Saturday. Kim Il Sung is Kim Jong Un's late grandfather and is called the "eternal president" in North Korea.

There are concerns that North Korea may conduct a nuclear test to observe the anniversary of Sim Il Sung's birthday, or the army's founding day on April 25. The recent North Korean missile tests indicate the state may soon have an intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the US.

US continuing pressure

US President Donald Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week about the "shared common interest" in seeing an end to the nuclear program in North Korea. Although the meetings were seen as mostly positive, Trump wrote in a tweet on Tuesday that if China, North Korea's sole ally, refused to assist "we will solve the problem without them!"

US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said Sunday that Trump asked for "a full range of options to remove that threat."

Trump ordered a missile strike in Syria last week following President Bashar al-Assad's suspected use of sarin gas on his own civilians, leading to more than 70 deaths. It appears the strike was a message to North Korea.

"If you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken," said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Video: Chinese news anchor announces Xi discusses North Korea on call with Trump (Supplied by Reuters)

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