South Korea expects North to launch ICBM on Saturday, prime minister says

North Korea warns of 'more gift packages', South Korea ramping up defense

South Korean local residents are protesting against the US THAAD deployment missile systems.

Hundreds of South Koreans have clashed with security forces in a village where the USA military is to start installing launchers of the US anti-missile system created to protect them against mounting threats from North Korea.

Moon also expressed regret over clashes between protesters and police that left dozens injured Thursday when the US military added the four launchers to the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System in rural Seongju.

It has been steadily pursuing its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of global condemnation and has threatened more action in response to any new United Nations sanctions and U.S. pressure.

With the four additional launchers installed, U.S. Forces Korea will have a fully operational THAAD battery at its base in Seongju.

"We will respond to the barbaric plotting around sanctions and pressure by the United States with powerful counter measures of our own", North Korea said in a statement by its delegation to an economic forum in Vladivostok, in Russia's Far East.

"The battery will be operational as soon as the USA finishes its internal procedures", ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told reporters. Seoul's Defence Ministry has said the United States military will begin installing the additional launchers today.

The Japanese prime minister also will meet later Thursday with Putin. China has also been strongly against the deployment, arguing that the battery's presence undermines its security interests in the region.

The federal government is considering how to evacuate the 200,000 Australians in north Asia should tensions with North Korea escalate into war.

Russian Federation has also criticized the move.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, rejected the idea of stronger U.N. Security Council sanctions and called for talks with North Korea.

His efforts have been hampered by bellicose rhetoric on all sides of the North Korean issue, and worsening relations between Seoul and Washington.

Vehicles carrying pieces of the THAAD system arrive at Seongju, South Korea, September 7, 2017.

For the second time in its history, Japan has carried out a series of anti-missile drills at a USA airbase in the northern Tohoku region, as tensions mount with North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons program.

"If we work together, we can come up with a collective solution to the North Korean problem", Moon Chung-in said.

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