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South Korea on heightened alert as North readies for army anniversary

22 April 2017

United Nations diplomats said the proposed statement had consensus from the other 14 Council members, including China, North Korea's biggest ally and a Council permanent member.

North Korea will definitely be in the United Nations spotlight on April 28 when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presides at a Security Council meeting where Guterres will brief members on the North's nuclear program.

But the Navy said Wednesday that the fleet was en route to the waters surrounding the divided peninsula.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that Washington would work with its allies and China to put economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea but added that America would defeat any attack with an "overwhelming response"."There is no time to lose because all of the money North Korea has is being used for nuclear investment and research which would enable the country to jump another hurdle", he said.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday declined to comment on media reports that Russian Federation was moving military hardware and troops toward the border with North Korea, the RIA news agency quoted him as saying.

The U.N.'s most powerful body demanded an immediate end to the North's nuclear and missile tests and threatened to take "further significant measures" - U.N. code for new sanctions.

"Everyone came together", U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters.

That is a change in tone for Trump, who during the presidential campaign said he was open to talking with North Korea, and would even invite the young leader to the US for negotiations.

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South Korean and US officials and 38 North have been saying for weeks that North Korea could test a bomb at any time and speculation was rife that it could coincide with celebrations last Saturday to mark the 105th birthday of North Korea's founding father, Kim Il Sung.

On April 17, North Korea attempted to launch a ballistic missile that exploded within seconds after it took off, according to US and South Korean defense officials.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China believed in the Security Council maintaining unity.

In a unanimous statement, U.N. Security Council members expressed their "utmost concern" over Pyongyang's "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance" of the U.N. sanctions. The test occured at an air base near the city of Wonsan North Korea's east coast along the Sea of Japan.

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There has been some confusion over the whereabouts of a USA aircraft carrier group after Trump said last week he had sent an "armada" as a warning to North Korea, even as the ships were still far from Korean waters.