US President Donald Trump tells China we will destroy North Korea with or without your help
US military officials fear North Korea has placed a nuclear device in a tunnel with the potential to detonate it as the country warns the world to expect a ‘big event’ amid mounting tensions with Donald Trump.
A Voice of America journalist tweeted that US government sources said North Korea had placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it could be detonated as early as Saturday.
The country is reportedly in its final stages of preparing for its sixth nuclear test.
Earlier, foreign journalists visiting North Korea were told to prepare for a ‘big and important’ event on Thursday. North Korean officials gave no details as to the nature of the event.
There were no indications the ‘big’ event on Thursday was directly linked to tensions in the region over the isolated state’s nuclear weapons program.
Around 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang as the country marks the 105th birth anniversary of its founding president Kim Il Sung on April 15, North Korea’s biggest national day called ‘Day of the Sun’.
Officials gave no details as to the nature of the event or where it would take place, and similar announcements in the past have been linked to relatively low-key set pieces.
In 2016, for example, foreign journalists underwent hours of investigation by North Korean officials ahead of what turned out to be a pop concert to mark the finale of a ruling Workers’ Party congress.
But tensions are running high, with a U.S. Navy strike group steaming toward the western Pacific in a show of force and North Korea warning of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression.
Washington-based 38 North, who monitors North Korea, has reported ‘unusually high levels of activity’ at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site over the past four weeks.
New satellite imagery from April 2 showed there was more activity around the North Portal, which is the tunnel where the four most recent nuclear tests have taken place.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a peaceful resolution to the North Korean problem in a telephone conversation with President Trump on Wednesday.
Trump tweeted that he had ‘a very good call’ with Chinese leader Xi Jinping Tuesday night dealing with ‘the menace of North Korea.’
He promised Xi on Tuesday that they would get ‘far better’ trade terms with the U.S. if they managed to de-fang the hostile North Korean regime.
But in the same digital breath – on Twitter – he pledged to handle Pyongyang with or without Beijing’s help.
‘I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!’ Trump tweeted Tuesday.
The president is increasingly concerned with the threat of a nuclear program being developed by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
‘North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.’ Trump continued Tuesday.
Pyongyang rattled a saber in Washington’s direction on Monday, saying it would mount a defense against ‘reckless acts of aggression’ after the Trump administration sent an aircraft carrier strike group toward the Korean peninsula.
The strike group consists of the USS Carl Vinson, a missile carrier and two destroyers.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency said the North Korean foreign ministry criticized Trump’s ‘reckless acts of aggression’ and said American aggression has ‘reached a serious phase.’
Pyongyang ‘is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S.,’ the ministry insisted.
In April, 2012, North Korea attempted to launch a long-range rocket ahead of the 100th Day of the Sun. State media later confirmed the launch had failed.
On Wednesday, North Korean officials told foreign journalists in Pyongyang invited to mark the national holiday that their schedule had been canceled, and to instead meet early on Thursday to prepare for a ‘big and important event’.
Visits by foreign journalists to North Korea are rare and tightly coordinated, and security checks at events attended by leader Kim Jong Un are especially rigorous.
North Korea often uses such visits to showcase new construction projects. In recent weeks workers have been putting the finishing touches to the skyscraper-lined ‘Ryomyong’ street in central Pyongyang.
Kim has made frequent visits to the street to inspect construction work there, according to state media. North Korea has in the past marked its April 15 holiday with tightly choreographed military parades.