USA sets up missile defense in S. Korea as North shows power

North Korea marked the 85th anniversary of the founding of its military Tuesday with a "massive fire drill" in the eastern port city of Wonsan, according to South Korea's defense ministry.

South Korea's military said it's closely watching North Korean troop movement around Wonsan, but didn't confirm the Yonhap report, which cited an unnamed source to report that the North carried out an exercise involving 300 to 400 artillery pieces.

China said on Wednesday it had expressed serious concern to Washington and Seoul after the USA military started moving parts of its controversial THAAD anti-missile defense system to a deployment site in South Korea.

The nuclear-powered U.S. submarine USS Michigan also made a port call at Busan in the South on Tuesday in another show of force, while United States navy destroyers carried out separate joint exercises with Japanese and South Korean vessels.

South Korea's Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was monitoring the situation and "firmly maintaining readiness".

The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier is also heading toward the peninsula for a joint exercise with South Korea.

Still, North Korea remains defiant despite mounting pressure from the Trump administration and, increasingly, China, to stop its missile program. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft supercarrier also is headed toward the peninsula for an exercise with South Korea.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said the status quo with nuclear-armed North Korea was unacceptable, calling for new sanctions on the country. They are created to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles like the ones that North Korea has been launching at a steady clip.

Additionally, a U.S. nuclear submarine has also arrived to the Korean peninsula.

US Senator Lindsey Graham said he and fellow Republican John McCain had dinner with Trump on Monday and discussed North Korea.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Ahead of an extraordinary White House briefing for senators, South Korea on Wednesday started installing key parts of a contentious US defense system against missiles from North Korea.

North Korea has bolstered the case for the system by test-firing dozens of missiles over the past year, all of them capable of hitting South Korea.

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South Korean defense ministry officials and US military officials could not immediately be reached for confirmation.

In March, North Korea fired four missiles, which landed in the Sea of Japan, and another one on April 4 prior to a meeting between the US and China.

President Donald Trump has sent more US military assets to the region in a show of force while leaning on China to exert economic pressure on its wayward ally.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Mr Trump will not allow North Korea to develop nuclear missiles that could reach the United States mainland.

"Our great leaders founded and wisely led our revolutionary army, and just like that, now our respected Marshal Kim Jong Un is leading wisely, so even though the situation is tense, we are celebrating the day", said Choe Un Byol, who came with his family to the bronze statues of the former leaders.

North Korea's foreign ministry said the meetings called by United States officials reflected USA pressure that could "ignite a full-out war" and showed that Pyongyang's decision to become a nuclear power was correct. And in NY, the United Nations Security Council scheduled a special ministerial meeting Friday to discuss further sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang.

The trio also agreed that China and Russian Federation should play a bigger role in reining in the North, said Kim Hong-Kyun, South Korea's chief envoy on the issue.

The U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun, on Tuesday agreed with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Tokyo that the three nations would "coordinate all actions" on North Korea.

However, the move has angered China, which said the advanced system would do little to deter the North, while destabilizing the regional security balance. The North called the airstrikes "absolutely unpardonable" and said it proves that its nuclear weapons are justified to protect the country against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war".

The official China Daily newspaper said it was time to step back from harsh rhetoric.

China, North Korea's sole major ally which nevertheless objects to its weapons development, has repeatedly called for calm, and its envoy for Korean affairs, Wu Dawei, was in Tokyo yesterday.


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