North Korea threatens U.S. with nuclear strike

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He plans to pay a courtesy call on Defense Minister Song Young-moo, tour the special forces command and attend a government-organized ceremony to mark the 64th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement on Thursday.

Below the tourists, trucks carrying Chinese goods rumble into North Korea as a small number of shoppers and traders head in the opposite direction. Though only a fraction of the missile tests have been successful, those that have succeeded have caused worry in the United States and North Korea's Asian neighbors. China is stepping up its security activities on the borders with North Korea and India.

However, the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff recently said the July 4 test stopped short of showing North Korea has the ability to strike the United States "with any degree of accuracy".

China slapped a sweeping ban on coal imports from North Korea in February, one of the regime's biggest sources of revenue. Already, the aggressive testing regime put in place in recent months has allowed North Korea to validate its basic designs, putting it within a few months of starting industrial production, the officials said.

Speaking Tuesday, MOFA spokesman Lu Kang said the country's military "has maintained normal combat readiness and training status along the Chinese-North Korean border".

A new assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) concludes North Korea will have a nuclear-capable ICBM by next year.

The KCNA report said Pompeo's remarks "have gone over the line, and it has now become clear that the ultimate aim of the Trump administration ... is the regime change".

Therefore, the North Korean news agency warned that even "the slightest sign of attempt to remove our supreme leadership" will lead to a "merciless blow" with its "powerful nuclear hammer".

On Monday, CNN reported, citing a us defence official, that vehicles carrying equipment for the missile launch had been seen in North Korea's Kusong city in central North Pyongan province.

The Pentagon is set to conduct another test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system based in Alaska this weekend, U.S. Defense Department spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told Fox News on Monday, amid the growing ballistic missile threat from North Korea.

"The potential damage for Americans and soldiers in Japan and South Korea and for Japan and South Korea as well is unacceptably substantial", he noted.

The reclusive North, which has defied all calls to rein in its weapons programmes, even from its lone major ally, China, has been working on a missile, mounted with a nuclear warhead, capable of striking the USA mainland.

Another ICBM test may come in the next week or so, as US military intelligence has detected possible preparations for a test in Kusong, according to the Diplomat.