S. Korea installs parts of contentious US missile defense

A USA carrier group will arrive off the Korean Peninsula by the end of April.

South Korea says key parts of a contentious USA missile defense system have been installed a day after rival North Korea showed off its military power. The exercise showed the North's first explicit intent to attack U.S. Forces in Japan, they said.

"If it flies, it will die", Adm. Harry Harris Jr., told Congress.

Such a move wouldn't destabilize the North Korean economy, but it would be symbolic and "further undermine North Korea's communication with the outside world", said Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing.

The guided-missile submarine USS Michigan made a port call in the southeastern port city of Busan on Tuesday, a show of force as North Korea celebrated the 85th anniversary of the founding of its army.

Japanese authorities have advised citizens they will have just 10 minutes to seek shelter should North Korea launch a ballistic missile at the country, as tensions continue to flare in Asia. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft supercarrier also is headed toward the peninsula for an exercise with South Korea. China, which is urging restraint on all sides, called for the U.S.to halt the maneuvers.

On Monday, the President spoke about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a reception for conservative media outlets, saying "I'm not so sure he's so strong like he says he is, I'm not so sure at all".

A U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane prepares to land at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

North Korean diplomats and government officials must be expelled, and United Nations members are also required to reduce the number of staff they employ through diplomatic missions in North Korea.

Some analysts voiced concerns Trump was backing himself into a corner with his fierce rhetoric on North Korea, leading both countries to a point where "bad things are going to happen".

President Donald Trump welcomed Republican and Democratic senators before his secretary of state, defense secretary, top general and national intelligence director conducted a classified briefing.

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Washington has said all options are on the table, including military strikes, but officials have stressed that the current focus is on stepped-up sanctions on North Korea, which are expected to be discussed at a UN Security Council meeting on Friday chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly about plans for the closed-doors briefings and requested anonymity.

At the same time, the United States has ordered an aircraft carrier strike group to the western Pacific, near North Korea.

It suggested the possibility of Beijing condoning a USA surgical strike against a nuclear facility in North Korea.

In the call with Xi, "the two leaders reaffirmed the urgency of the threat posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, and committed to strengthen co-ordination in achieving the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula", a White House statement said.

North Korea's state media was defiant in a commentary marking the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army, saying its military was prepared "to bring to closure the history of US scheming and nuclear blackmail". But he declined to provide specifics in an open setting.

The USS Michigan is a nuclear-powered submarine carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles and 60 special operations troops and mini-subs, reported the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo. But the admiral also said he lacks all the attack submarines he needs and has no capable defense against the thousands of artillery pieces North Korea has assembled near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. According to the Yonhap news agency, the parts include two or three launchers, intercept missiles and radar.

"The whole world will soon see the significance of our enormous victory", North Korea stated.

The body of water separates Japan and the Korean Peninsula.

"China will firmly be taking necessary measures to defend our own interests", Geng added.

China, North Korea's sole major ally, has in turn been angered by Pyongyang's belligerence, as well as its nuclear and missile programs. "For example, the ballistic missile launched from [North Korea] on February 7 previous year took 10 minutes to fly over Okinawa".

Kim reported from Seoul, South Korea.