Korea PM: North may launch ICBM Saturday

Korea PM: North may launch ICBM Saturday

Seoul's Unification Ministry spokeswoman Eugene Lee said Friday that Pyongyang could potentially conduct its next ICBM tests this weekend or around October 10, another North Korean holiday marking the founding of its ruling party.

Meanwhile, North Korea issued a defiant statement Thursday: "We will reply to USA barbarian sanctions and pressure with our powerful countermeasures". He told reporters before his departure from Japan that "We must make North Korea understand there is no bright future for the country if it pursues the current path".

A leading missile expert told Fox News the U.S. would have only minutes to decide whether to shoot down a North Korea missile. But the NSSC said it had detected xenon-133, a radioactive isotope that does not occur naturally and which has in the past been linked to North Korea's nuclear tests. This was quickly followed by the country's sixth nuclear test on 3 September, raising the tensions in the Korean peninsula.

"I would prefer not going the route of the military, but it's something certainly that could happen", Trump said at a press conference. A senior administration official said the US was still assessing last weekend's underground explosion but so far noted nothing inconsistent with Pyongyang's claim.

Trump has sent a powerful USA aircraft carrier towards North Korea amid rising tensions in the region.

South Korea and the United States are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

The anniversary, which marks the 1948 establishment of the North's communist government, comes about a week after it carried out its sixth nuclear test and claimed the device was a hydrogen bomb created to fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.

The clashes came as South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe met in eastern Russian Federation and repeated their calls for stronger punishment of North Korea over its nuclear ambitions, including denying the country oil supplies.

"The organizers of the event hope it provides extra worldwide support and attention towards the North Korea issue, while the attendees will strive to bring peace and stability to the Asia Pacific region".

Meanwhile, Sweden urged its citizens Friday to refrain from unnecessary trips to North Korea. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang also provides consular services for the United States, Australia and Canada. The plan would see Pyongyang suspend its nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt in joint US-South Korean military drills.

Seoul's intelligence services had said earlier in the week they expect the Kim Jong-un regime to carry out another missile test on October 10, when the country celebrates the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party. But they also pointed out that the North could fire ballistic missiles at any time from mobile launchers, known as transporter erector launchers (TELs).

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