NORTH Korea is demanding the handover of ‘terror suspects’ after accusing the CIA and South Korea spies of a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un. As tensions continue to escalate, here are live updates.
This is the latest warning North Korea after Donald Trump sent an ‘armada’, including a nuclear-powered submarine and aircraft carriers, into the region in a show of force.
South Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in has vowed to begin efforts solve the “security crisis” on the peninsula amid tensions between North Korea and America.
The US has activated a anti-missile system in South Korea despite opposition from China. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un is preparing to carry out a sixth nuclear test.
Here are the latest updates on the standoff between Kim Jong-un’s regime and Donald Trump’s administration.
8pm BST: Pyongyang has resumed an eerie broadcast of seeimingly random numbers into South Korea via radio.
Espionage experts believe the broadcasts coming out of the communist hermit state are used to direct spies across the border in the South.
A previous broadcast from North Korea was addressed to the “21st exploration team” and read out: “On page 924 number 49, on page 14 number 76, on page 418 number 37.”
9.50am BST: North Korea has demanded the extradition of South Korea’s spy chief, accusing him of being a mastermind of a CIA-backed plot to assassinate its leader, Kim Jong Un, with a biochemical weapon.
North Korea’s Central Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement carried by the North’s state KCNA news agency the masterminds included South Korean intelligence service chief Lee Byung-ho, two South Korean agents and a Chinese man.
“We urge the relevant authorities to immediately detect and arrest and hand over to the DPRK the masterminds of the hideous state-sponsored crime, accomplices and their followers,” the office said,
8.50am BST: North Korea’s parliament has sent a protest letter to the US House of Representatives over its new package of tougher sanctions, Fox News reported state media as saying.
It comes after the House overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
North Korea is demanding the handover of “terror suspects” who they claim are behind a plot to kill leader Kim Jong-un with a biochemical weapon, a top North Korean official has said.
Repeating accusations that US and South Korean spies were behind the plot, North Korea’s vice foreign minister said his country will “wipe out” the suspects once they have been found.
North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Hang Song Ryol, said: “The Central Prosecutor’s Office will ask for the handover of those criminals and prosecute them under the relevant laws.”
6.09am BST: US citizens are secretly detained along with other westerners in North Korean prisons as guards issue beatings and interrogations in a desperate bid to discover more about “the pig Donald Trump”, a Canadian businessman has claimed.
James Leigh, a security consultant who claims to have been interrogated for two and a half hours by North Korean officials, has alleged that American citizens are being secretly imprisoned in the hermit kingdom.
The Canadian said he was searched and detained for several days in a cell alongside US professor Tony Kim, who was arrested by Kim Jong-un’s henchmen on charges of “acts of hostility aimed to overturn the DPRK”.
Mr Leigh told Newsmax: ”He says there a lot more Americans than we know about being held.”
South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-in has launched international efforts to defuse tension over North Korea’s weapons development, calling dialogue and sanctions while also aiming to ease China’s anger about a US anti-missile system.
Just hours after being sworn in, the former human rights lawyer spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and later to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The conversations were dominated by how to respond to North Korea’s rapidly developing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, which are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Mr Moon has taken a more conciliatory line with North Korea than his conservative predecessors and advocates engagement. He has said he would be prepared to go to Pyongyang “if the conditions are right.”
His advocacy of engagement with North Korea contrasts with the approach of the United States, South Korea’s main ally, which is seeking to step up pressure on Pyongyang through further isolation and sanctions.
US President Donald Trump, who spoke with Mr Moon on Wednesday, this month opened the door to meeting North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, saying he would be honored to meet the young leader – but under the right circumstances.
7.40pm BST: A report from the Washington based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) estimates 13 to 30 nuclear weapons could be in Kim Jong-un’s hands.
The report further estimates North Korea possesses 33 kilograms of separated plutonium and 175 to 645 kilograms of weapon grade uranium.
David Albright who penned the report, writes: “How many it may have built is unknown, as is their size, weight, and reliability.
“North Korea has enough plutonium for up to 12 nuclear weapons using a composite core of plutonium and weapon-grade uranium, where likewise 70 percent of the fissile material is utilized in the weapons themselves. “
10.30am BST: South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in has spoken to Chinese leader Xi Jinping and said North Korea needs to cease making provocations before tensions over the deployment of the US anti-missile system in the South can be resolved.
Xi explained China’s concerns over the deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system to Moon, who took office on Wednesday, according to Yoon Young-chan, spokesman for South Korea’s presidential office.
“President Moon said the THAAD issue can be resolved when there is no further provocation by North Korea,” Mr Yoon said.
4am BST: Pyongyang’s state media outlet has released satellite pictures of the anti-missile system THAAD, which the US has deployed in South Korea.
The state-controlled media said: “The satellite pictures show the THAAD missile launcher is currently deployed near the northern ridge of the Seongju golf course while the X-band radar and other auxiliary equipment are installed near the western ridge from the centre.
“THAAD is a source of a nuclear disaster.”
It warned that the deployment would “turn the Korean Peninsula as a battlefield for a nuclear war among powerful countries”.
Pyongyang state media today warn that hundreds of millions could die if Donald Trump does not prevent war with North Korea.
Propaganda outlet Rodong Sinmun said: “If a war breaks out, even survivors cannot seek a shelter anywhere.
“The US would be well advised to urgently take measures to save the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans in the mainland rather than being concerned about the security of those in South Korea.”
8.46pm BST: Germany has announced a crackdown on the business activities of the North Korean embassy in Berlin over fears a tourist hostel was being used to fund Kim Jong-un’s regime.
The tourist hostel and a convention centre operate from the embassy building in the middle of the German capital and officials have become concerned the enterprise is being increasingly used as a source of foreign exchange.
Kim Yong-nam, the regime’s ceremonial head of state, said better dialogue between them would “benefit people in both nations”.
Pyongyang’s state-run KCNA news agency reported that Mr Kim wished Mr Macron “success in his responsible work for the development and prosperity of France”.
3pm BST: Japan is reportedly considering buying Tomahawk cruise missiles amid escalating tensions in the region.
12.30pm BST: North Korea’s ambassador to the UK warned that his nation is ‘not afraid’ and will turn US assets in the region to “ashes” if America launches a pre-emptive strike.
“The US cannot attack us first,” the ambassador Choe Il told Sky News. “If the US moves an inch, then we are ready to turn to ashes any available strategic assets of the US.”
He added: “In regards to the sixth nuclear test, I do not know the scheduled time for it, as I am here in the UK, not in my home country.
“However, I can say that the nuclear test will be conducted at the place and time as decided by our supreme leader, Kim Jong-un.”
China’s military has conducted live-fire drills and weapons tests in the northeastern Bohai Sea close to the Korean peninsula.
The Chinese defence ministry said the tests of new missiles and weapons were carried out by the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force “in recent days”.
Noon: Kim Jong-un has claimed Donald Trump wants world domination in an editorial in North Korea’s state-run newspaper, which acts as a mouthpiece for the state’s leader.
The fiery editorial said: “They can not cover up the sordid ambition to put the whole of Korea under its military rule and, furthermore, put Northeast Asia and the world under its control.”
11am: South Korea’s new liberal President Moon Jae-in was sworn in today and vowed to begin efforts to ease tensions between America and North Korea.
“I will urgently try to solve the security crisis,” Mr Moon said.
“If needed, I will fly straight to Washington. I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and, if the conditions are right, to Pyongyang also.”
He plans to negotiate with Washington and Beijing in a bid to end the row over a US missile defence system being activated in South Korea despite strong opposition from China.
Moon Jae-in has declared his victory in the South Korean elections as his rivals conceded defeat.
“I will be a president for all the people,” Mr. Moon said in a televised speech to the nation.
Mr Moon’s victory spells the return of the liberals into power in a move that could create friction over the US’ stance on North Korea.
3pm BST: Moon Jae-in is poised to become South Korea’s first liberal president in nine years, according to the exit polls in South Korea’s presidential election.
He is set to win 41.4 per cent of the vote, defeating conservative challenger Hong Joon-pyo at 23.3 per cent, according to the exit polls.
8am BST: The people of South Korea are going to the polls today. The frontrunner Moon Jae-in has signalled that he would take a less antagonistic stance to North Korea,
“I think what the United States wants is strong pressure on North Korea with cooperation from China to bring North Korea to the negotiation table to get them to scrap their nuclear programme,” he said on a Youtube live stream.
“What’s important in this process is that South Korea should lead that new flow of events – we should not be a sightseer just watching talks between thSourcee United States and China.”