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Japan, S Korea hold drills after North's missile launch

05 September 2017

WASHINGTON/SEOUL-President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared "talking is not the answer" to the tense standoff with North Korea over its nuclear missile development, but his defense chief swiftly asserted that diplomatic options remain, and Russian Federation demanded US restraint.

North Koreans watch a news report showing North Korea's Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile launch on electronic screen at Pyongyang station in this photo taken by Kyodo August 30, 2017.

The U.S. Pacific Command said the exercises were conducted in response to North Korea's recent missile launch. Last year, North Korea conducted two nuclear-bomb tests.

South Korea has refuted a news report that there was a second quake near North Korea's nuclear test site. More missile tests, more bomber flyovers and three angry armies facing each other across the world's most heavily armed border raises the possibility that a miscalculation could lead to real fighting.

The test comes just hours after the country released images of Kim inspecting what it said was a hydrogen bomb ready to be fitted atop a missile with intercontinental capabilities.

It came at a time when North Korea was denying any plans to develop nuclear weapons under Kim's grandad Kim Il-sung.

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Nuclear weapons were withdrawn from South Korea back in 1991 on orders from US President George HW Bush.

Japan has also called for a concerted worldwide effort to put an end to the "growing threat" posed by North Korea's nuclear program.

North Korean state media this week also repeated threats to the US Pacific island of Guam, which it called "an advanced base of invasion".

Earlier this year, USA citizen Otto Warmbier was sent home in a coma and later died after spending more than a year in North Korean detention.

The two leaders pledged to continue to apply strong diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea and to make all necessary preparations to defend against the growing threat by the North, the White House said.

"From the U.K.in the European Union exit negotiation, there has to be transparency and predictability to minimize any damage on businesses", Abe told an audience of Japanese and British executives.

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Japan's Shinzo Abe said North Korea's ruthless act is a grave threat to his country.

South Korea's main spy agency has previously asserted that it does not think Pyongyang now has the ability to develop miniaturized nuclear weapons that can be mounted on long-range ballistic missiles.

Prime Minister Theresa May says they are not ruling out cyber warfare or military action at this point.

In what could be read as a veiled warning of more nuclear tests, Kim underlined the need for scientists to "dynamically conduct the campaign for successfully concluding the final-stage research and development for perfecting the state nuclear force" and "set forth tasks to be fulfilled in the research into nukes".

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The latest tweet by the Republican U.S. president drew criticism from some quarters in Washington.

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Japan, S Korea hold drills after North's missile launch