Satellite images of North Korea’s nuclear test site fuel speculation as Donald Trump issues fresh warning
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump says North Korea is a “problem that will be taken care of’ as speculation mounts that Pyongyang may be preparing another nuclear or missile test.
“North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of,” Trump said this morning, amid reports of activity at a North Korean nuclear test site ahead of Saturday’s 105th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-Sung.
Trump has repeatedly said he will prevent Pyongyang from developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States.
The US recently deployed a naval strike group to the region as a show of strength.
Earlier Thursday, the US military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat at targets in Afghanistan.
Trump played down suggestions that it was also intended as a warning to Pyongyang.
“I don’t know if this sends a message to North Korea. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not,” he said.
Satellite images of a suspected nuclear test site have emerged from the hermit state as unconfirmed reports yesterday suggested a nuclear device hd been placed in a tunnel could indicate a nuclear test is imminent.
Fuelling speculation, foreign journalists visiting North Korea were put on buses and warned to prepare for a “big and important event”, though it turned out to be the opening of a new skyscraper by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Around 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang as the country marks the 105th birthday anniversary of its founding president Kim Il-sung on Saturday, North Korea’s biggest national day called “Day of the Sun”.
The day is not only a day of celebration in the DPRK, but also a chance to show the country’s military might, often with huge displays of firepower.
Reports of a renewed nuclear threats come as tensions escalate across the region with North Korea and the US locked in a bitter war of words.
US President Donald Trump has doubled down on his North Korea threat, calling the country a “menace” and talking up the US’s military might, as the Chinese call for calm.
Australia could be drawn into hostilities with North Korea, with Mr Trump announcing via Twitter if China was unable to deal with the rogue nation “the US, with its allies, will”.
Mr Trump has publicly ramped up pressure on China to use its influence to curtail North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s nuclear and missile program. North Korea has responded by threatening nuclear strikes on the US. Mr Trump’s latest tweets also come as the USS Carl Vinson Nimitz-class aircraft carrier-led strike group of warships heads to the Korean Peninsula and two days before US Vice President Mike Pence sets off on a tour of Australia, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia where North Korea will be on the agenda. “I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea,” Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday.
Mr Trump and Mr Xi met for the first time at the US President’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last week, where they discussed trade and the problem of North Korea.
North Korea has reacted angrily to the US’s show of force in the region, saying it is ready for war.
An unnamed foreign ministry spokesman told the KCNA news agency that the US’s “reckless moves for invading had reached a serious phase”.
“We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves,” he said in a statement.
North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper went even further, threatening that the country had the ability to bomb the US mainland.
“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 theatre but also in the US mainland,” the paper wrote.
However, in a briefing to reporters on Tuesday, Mr Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer said the White House did not believe the North Koreans had the military technology to follow through on the threat.