North Korea threaten to hit United States aircraft carrier

A sunrise at the Demilitarized zone separating South and North Korea

A sunrise at the Demilitarized zone separating South and North Korea

Threatening the United States with military action, North Korea on Sunday said that it is ready to destroy a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier deployed in Korean waters, with a single strike.

The United States has ordered the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to sail to waters off the Korean peninsula in response to mounting concern over the North's nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the U.S. and its Asian allies.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the South China Sea, April 8, 2017.

On Sunday, Japan and the United States started naval military exercises in the Pacific Ocean with the participation of a USA naval group led by the USS Carl Vinson, according to Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Abe told reporters on Monday that he and Trump had agreed to keep close contact on North Korea.

A Japanese official said the phone call between Trump and Abe was not prompted by any specific change in the situation.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all sides to exercise restraint on Monday in a call with US President Donald Trump, as a nervous South Korea and Japan sought to join drills with a US aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters.

Satellite imagery analysed by 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, found some activity at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site last week.

From there, it could take three days to reach waters off the Korean peninsula. In the past, it has marked important anniversaries with tests of its weapons.

"Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a United States nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike", the paper mentioned.

According to the sources, the most likely period for the test is between April 25, the Military Foundation Day in North Korea, and May 9, when South Koreans will vote in early presidential polls. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday it would arrive "within days", but gave no other details.

An official North Korean website warned Monday that Pyongyang will "wipe out" the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula, the latest tit-for-tat sabre-rattling that has sent tensions soaring in the region.

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China is North Korea's sole major ally but has been angered by its nuclear and missile programmes and is frustrated by Pyongyang's belligerence.

Abe also said he and Trump agreed that China should play a large role in dealing with it.

It has also carried out a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Pyongyang's rhetoric intensifies every spring, when the US and South Korea hold joint exercises it sees as rehearsals for an attack on the North.

North Korea is on a quest to develop long-range missiles and has threatened the USA that the missiles will be capable of hitting the United States mainland with a nuclear warhead.

Japan's show of naval force reflects growing concern that North Korea could strike it with nuclear or chemical warheads.

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Worsening an already tense situation, North Korea detained Tony Kim, a Korean-American, on Saturday.

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