North Korea: US vows sanctions and will activate Thaad system 'within days'

North Korea: US vows sanctions and will activate Thaad system 'within days'

"The ROK-U.S. alliance decided last July to deploy THAAD, that's a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, which will be operational in the coming days and able to better defend South Korea against the growing North Korea threat", Harris said.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration told lawmakers Wednesday it will apply economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, as an extraordinary White House briefing served to tamp down talk of military action against an unpredictable and increasingly unsafe USA adversary.

The anti-missile system also has become a campaign issue ahead of South Korea's May 9 presidential election, with frontrunner Moon Jae-in denouncing the expedited deployment while his closest rival Ahn Cheol-soo says it must take place.

The U.S. military started moving parts of an anti-missile defense system to a deployment site in South Korea on Wednesday, triggering protests from villagers and criticism from China. However, China and Russian Federation have opposed the deployment, who see it as also equalizing their nuclear deterrents.

It said South Korea and the United States had been working to reached "early operational capability" and the battery was expected to be operational by the end of the year.

Washington and Pyongyang have been ratcheting up pressure on each other in recent weeks, with the United States sending a aircraft carrier group and nuclear submarine to the region and North Korea attempting more missile launches in defiance of layers of U.N. sanctions. China, which has grown increasingly frustrated with its ally Pyongyang, and Russian Federation see the system's powerful radars as a security threat.

The unprecedented meeting in a building adjacent to the White House reflected the increased American alarm over North Korea's progress in developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the USA mainland.

It also claimed the USA bringing its nuclear strategic assets to the region has been seines military aggression which should be met with strength, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"There's still time for THAAD to be actually up and running so we will fight until equipment is withdrawn from the site and ask South Korea's new government to reconsider", Kim told Reuters.

"The real key to this has to be China", King said in response to questions from CNN host Wolf Blitzer.

North Korea routinely accuses the United States of readying for an invasion, and threatens pre-emptive strikes to stop it.

"[U.S. Pacific Command] put out a release talking about the group ultimately ending up in the Korean Peninsula - that's what it will do", he said. "However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies".

Meanwhile, several news outlets reported that the U.S.is considering putting North Korea on its state sponsors of terrorism list, citing a senior White House official.

"Despite subsequent Chinese assurances that they would not militarise these bases, today they now have facilities that support long-range weapons emplacements, fighter aircraft hangers, radar towers and barracks for troops", Harris said.

Harris said the carrier was in the Phiippine Sea, within two-hours striking distance of North Korea "if called upon to do that".

An unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said the USA administration's policy to maximize pressure on North Korea was "little short of lighting the fuse of total war", the state news agency reported Tuesday.

Australia's foreign minister says North Korea has utterly disregarded global law and violated U.N. Security Council resolutions on numerous occasions. China previously condemned escalating tensions between the US and North Korea, calling for an immediate end to threats from both sides.

South Korea is also in political limbo and it is now led by an interim government under acting president and prime minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.

After meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump praised China's willingness to help with North Korea, and expressed optimism that they would do more to deter Kim Jong-Un from holding additional tests.

But the USA and South Korean militaries have been reluctant to publicly discuss the progress of the deployment as candidates in a May 9 presidential election debated whether the move should go ahead or be delayed until after the vote.

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