Protests in South Korea as nations wrestle with North missile threat

Protests in South Korea as nations wrestle with North missile threat

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un then called the launch a "meaningful prelude" to containing the US Pacific island territory of Guam and called for his military to conduct more ballistic missile launches targeting the Pacific Ocean.

Seoul has hardened its stance against Pyongyang after its torrent of arms tests, the latest on Sunday being a detonation of what North Korea said was a thermonuclear weapon built for missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland.

South Korea is closely watching North Korea over the possibility it might launch another intercontinental ballistic missile as soon as Saturday, when it celebrates its founding anniversary.

In Washington, President Donald Trump reiterated on Thursday that military action was "certainly" an option against North Korea as his administration tentatively concurred with the pariah nation's claim to have tested a hydrogen bomb.

Experts have warned that prior ICBM tests indicate that the North is capable of striking deep into the US mainland.

While China and Russian Federation have condemned Kim's actions, they have said the ultimate goal needs to be to coax him to the negotiating table and avoid a war.

He called on all North Korea's neighbours to show restraint, suggesting the bellicose rhetoric and military drills are "playing into their hands".

Mexico on Thursday said it had given the ambassador, Kim Hyong Gil, 72 hours to leave Mexico in order to express its "absolute rejection" of North Korea's recent nuclear activity, describing it as a grave threat to the region and the world.

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China will support further United Nations action if it helps restart dialogue with North Korea, foreign minister Wang Yi said on Thursday. "It will be a very sad day for North Korea", Trump said.

China is a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, as well as North Korea's main trading partner and source of food and fuel aid.

The U.S. had, in early September 2017, been close to its "end game" with North Korea: that "end game" being actual negotiations to achieve what Pres. Putin was now attempting to achieve: a formal peace treaty between Pyongyang and Seoul to end the Korean War, and mutual recognition between North and South Korea with an end to South Korea's demand for reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

In South Korea, thousands of police officers in riot gear swarmed 400 protesters who had been occupying a road leading to the site where THAAD is installed in the rural town of Seongju.

"The relations between the two countries are based on the excellent tradition of friendship and mutual respect", the Korean Central News Agency quoted the message as saying.

The North Korean ambassador branded the move as "ignorant" and said disagreement over the country's nuclear program was an issue for the U.S. and "has nothing to do with Mexico".

North Korea in July carried out its first two successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), apparently bringing much of the U.S. mainland into range. Indeed, the USSR was the major ally of North Korea up to and including the Korean War, and the PRC only became involved in the Korean War when it appeared as though an existential threat existed with US forces crossing the Yalu River and threatening nuclear war against the PRC. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson raised the issue of North Korean "guest workers" in Kuwait during a meeting with the Middle Eastern country's foreign minister in Washington on Friday.