North Korea slams ‘false’ nuclear test site deaths report

North Korea slammed a Japanese TV station’s report on Thursday that claimed hundreds of people were crushed to death when tunnels collapsed at its unstable nuclear test site.

The statement comes as a South Korean spy agency renewed fears that the Hermit Kingdom is planning a missile test.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a statement that the Tuesday report by Japanese broadcaster Asahi TV was “false” and merely “misinformation,” Reuters reported. It accused the Japanese station of trying to “slander” the rogue regime’s nuclear weapons program.

The Japanese TV station reported on Tuesday that 200 are feared dead after an underground tunnel collapsed at the Punggye-ri test site on Oct. 10. The workers were in the tunnel during the initial cave-in, the station reported, citing a North Korean source. Another 100 people were crushed when the tunnels gave way on top of rescuers.

The station also blamed the country’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 for destabilizing the area and causing the tunnels to crumble. Despite North Korea’s rebuke of the report, experts have previously said the test site could be on the verge of collapse more than a month after the powerful blast. Pyongyang said it detonated a hydrogen bomb, calling it a “perfect success” that was reportedly 10 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

REFILE - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance with Ri Hong Sop (2nd L) and Hong Sung Mu (R) on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 3, 2017.  KCNA via REUTERS    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE.  NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RC1326A8D0A0

Kim Jong Un provides guidance on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sept. 3.  (Reuters)

Three small tremors have been detected from the area since the test triggered a 6.3-magnitude earthquake. Satellite images obtained by 38 North, which specializes in North Korea issues, showed a possible “collapsed chimney crater” at Mount Mantap, where the tests are reportedly being conducted underground.

On Thursday, the National Intelligence Service, South Korea’s spy agency, reported detecting “active movement” at a Pyongyang missile research facility that indicated Kim Jong Un’s regime was possibly planning a new missile test, according to Yonhap News Agency. Punggye-ri test site’s tunnel 3 was also reportedly ready to conduct another nuclear test “at any time,” the agency claimed.

“The North will carry out additional nuclear tests and continue to push for the development of miniaturized, diversified nuclear warheads,” the South Korean spy agency said.

President Trump is set to leave for his five-nation Asia tour on Friday, stopping in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Philippines — his first trip in the region since taking office. He is expected to stop in South Korea next Tuesday.

North Korea carried out its last intermediate-range missile test in September that flew over northern Japan before splashing into the Pacific Ocean. Officials feared another launch was imminent when North Korea celebrated two holidays — the anniversaries of its first nuclear test and the foundation of the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea — in early October.

Celebrations remained mostly peaceful with no rocket or nuclear test.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Courtesy: Fox News

N. Korea may be ‘months’ away from capability to nuke US, CIA chief hints

N. Korea may be ‘months’ away from capability to nuke US, CIA chief hints
North Korea may be “months” away from capability of striking US soil with nuclear weapons, CIA Director Mike Pompeo hinted.

“They [North Korea] are close enough now in their capabilities that, from a US-policy perspective, we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving [ability to strike the US],” Pompeo said, speaking at a national security forum in Washington on Thursday, as cited by AP.

According to the CIA chief, intelligence data gathered on Pyongyang and its current weapons capabilities is still imperfect.

 growing ever closer to having its  capability “perfected,” says @CIA Director Pompeo, speaking at @FDD.

“When you’re now talking about months, our capacity to understand that at a detailed level is in some sense irrelevant,” said Pompeo.

“We are at a time where the [US] President [Donald Trump] has concluded that we need a global effort to ensure [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un doesn’t have that capacity,” he added.

‘If Kim suddenly dies, ‘I’m just not going to talk about it’

When asked what would happen if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suddenly died, Pompeo said that such speculation was futile.

“If Kim Jong-un should vanish, given the history of the CIA, I’m just not going to talk about it,” Pompeo said with apparent irony, as cited by AFP.

“Someone might think there was a coincidence. ‘You know, there was an accident.’ It’s just not fruitful,” he continued.

North Korea claimed earlier this month that the CIA together attempted to kill Kim with the cooperation of South Korean intelligence, state-run KCNA agency reported, without substantiating the claim.

READ MORE: Myriad ways CIA tried and failed to assassinate Fidel Castro 

Trump and Kim have been engaged in a fierce war of words in recent months, with comments from each side becoming more and more aggressive. On one occasion, the US President vowed to “totally destroy” North Korea.

In one of his latest comments on the North Korean crisis, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Washington would continue its diplomatic efforts to solve the North Korean crisis only “until first bomb drops.”

In the meantime, North Korea has repeatedly threatened to reduce the US to “ashes and darkness.” On Thursday, Pyongyang warned of an “unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time” on US targets, expressing outrage at the ongoing US-South Korean joint naval drills near the Korean Peninsula.

Earlier this month, An Tong Chun, head of North Korea’s delegation to the multinational Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said that it was the US who pushed North Korea into making a hydrogen bomb.

North Korea’s Deputy UN Ambassador Kim In-ryong escalated the rhetoric by warning the UN General Assembly that the crisis on the Korean Peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.”  

Russia and China have been pushing for a “double-freeze” plan, which would see Pyongyang suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile tests in exchange for a halt to joint US-South Korea military drills. However, Washington rejected the proposal.

READ MORE: US, South Korea begin naval drills off Korean Peninsula 

On Friday, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Committee on International Affairs in the Russian Duma, once again called for dialogue to solve the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

“I hope our colleagues in Washington have enough common sense and will stop aggravating the situation with North Korea and will join Russia and other countries that call for the resolution of the conflict in Korea in a diplomatic way,”Slutsky said.

Courtesy: RT

Kim Jong Un builds his own ‘Mar-a-Lago’ as North Korean people starve

As he plots the next moves in his rogue nuke and missile programs, North Korean despot Kim Jong Un is constructing one other immense show of power just down the road from where his military tests the prohibited rockets that’ve brought the U.S. and North Korea to the brink of war.

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Kim wants his own version of Mar-a-Lago.

North Korean girls in similar bathing suits stand under a shower at the Songdowon International Children's Camp, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Wonsan, North Korea. The camp, which has been operating for nearly 30 years, was originally intended mainly to deepen relations with friendly countries in the Communist or non-aligned world. But officials say they are willing to accept youth from anywhere - even the United States.  (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

North Korean girls stand under a shower on a beach in Wonsan.  (AP)

The rogue leader has been building a knockoff Spanish resort in the seaside town of Wonsan, a vacation spot that appears to be Kim’s attempt at a North Korean take on President Trump’s Florida getaway.

Experts say Kim’s glamorous makeover of the city is part of the dictator’s grand strategy to improve his country’s economic development — ensuring his regime’s survival.

Wonsan, situated along the coast and east from Pyongyang, is already a popular destination for North Korean families to enjoy summer activities, Reuters reported. It’s also a place where Kim has ordered several new structures: an airport, ski resort and five-star hotel.

The construction continues alongside the rocket tests — there’ve been nearly 40 launches in the area.

A fisherman is silhouetted against the lit skyline of Wonsan, Monday, July 28, 2014 in North Korea. North Korea has been creating special zones across the country to try to boost tourism and Wonsan, long a favorite of North Korean vacationers, is being pushed as a prime destination for international travelers. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

A fisherman is silhouetted against the skyline of Wonsan in North Korea.  (AP)

John Delury, an associate professor at Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies, told Fox News that Kim’s survival strategy is double-pronged, involving the completion of his prized nuclear deterrent as well as creating economic improvement for his sanctions-choked populace.

“We tend to focus exclusively on the first part, and we only consider North Korea’s economy in so far as how to sanction and strangle it further,” Delury, who also specializes in North Korean affairs, told Fox News on Friday. “Kim’s ambition to create economic development is the one promising piece in the North Korea puzzle.”

“Sanctions don’t work on North Korea. Capitalism does.”

– Prof. John Delury

Kim first announced new developments in Wonsan in 2014. The proposal stated the building of “world-class facilities including an ultra-luxurious five-star hotel called the Wonsan Hotel,” according to the North Korean Economy Watch. But, showcasing the dual nature of the regime, the North Korean leader also held the country’s largest artillery drill in April at a nearby beach, Reuters reported. About “300 large-caliber self-propelled guns” opened fire at targets on an island about a mile away.

Delury said Kim wants North Korea to prosper more than the country did under his father, Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011.

FILE - In this Monday, July 28, 2014, file photo, North Korean women talk over pots of burning charcoal for cooking seafood on a pier leading to Jangdok Island at dusk, in Wonsan, North Korea, a favorite among North Korean vacationers, and being pushed as a prime destination for international travelers. Fresh off a drastic, half-year ban that closed North Korea’s doors to virtually all foreigners over fears they would spread the Ebola virus - despite the fact that there were no cases of Ebola reported anywhere in Asia - the country is once again determined to show off its "socialist fairyland" to tourists. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Two people cook seaside in Wonsan, North Korea.  (AP)

“So far [Kim is] doing a better job of delivering results in terms of economic growth,” Delury said.

Kim and his top officials have signaled the Hermit Kingdom is close to “completing” its goal of developing the ability to strike the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Wednesday a nuclear deterrent was the “real balance of power with the United States.” Delury said once they achieve the goal, Kim’s strategy is expected to shift to economic development through tourism.

“In terms of his strategy, that should allow him to pivot and focus even more on economic development — including things like tourism to Wonsan,” Delury said.

In this Saturday Feb. 11, 2017, photo, North Koreans ski at the Masik Pass Ski Resort in Wonsan, North Korea. North Korea's Olympic committee lashed out Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, against sanctions over its nuclear and long-range missile programs, claiming they are aimed at hurting the North's efforts to compete in international sports. Sanctions that block the sale of such items as skis, snowmobiles, snow groomers, yachts and even billiard tables are a "vicious ulterior political scheme," according to its National Olympic Committee. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

North Koreans ski at the Masik Pass Ski Resort in Wonsan.  (AP)

Kim’s top officials have already been spotted planning additions to the seaside resort, which is expected to eventually cost more than $1 billion. In June, top North Korean officials were seen traveling to Spanish resorts such as Benidorm, also a hotspot for drinking tourists, and were “amazed by the dimensions” of the towers and holiday parks, a spokesman for the North Korean embassy in Madrid told the Telegraph.

The North Korean delegation also looked closely at Marina d’Or, a resort in Oropesa del Mar that claims to have “endless luxury services at your fingertips” and Europe’s largest scientific seawater spa. They eyed the theme park Terra Mitica, hinting at a possible replica being built in Wonsan. The spokesman said they filmed some locations, possibly for future planning — and re-creation — in Wonsan.

North Korea wants to increase the number of tourists by 1 million people each year, eventually bringing in between 5 million to 10 million “in the foreseeable future,” according to Reuters. However, the recent death of American student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster and released by North Korean officials with severe brain damage, could deter that goal.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Wonsan Army-People Power Station in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 13, 2016. KCNA via REUTERS     ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. - RC1102DED480

Kim Jong Un visits the Wonsan Army-People Power Station in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 13, 2016.  (Reuters)

The U.S. State Department issued a new warning in August, telling travelers not to travel to North Korea “due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens.”

Delury told Fox News recent U.N. sanctions against North Korea won’t deter Kim.

“A smart strategy by the Trump administration would be to get a basic arms control agreement that freezes the North Korean nuclear and missile program where it is, and builds in gradual dismantlement steps, while at the same time helping Kim focus on economic development,” he said.

“Sanctions don’t work on North Korea. Capitalism does.”

Courtesy: Fox News

World War 3: North Korea will kill 4 million people in MINUTES if Kim nukes Seoul & Japan

NORTH Korea could instantly kill four million people in just minutes if tyrant Kim Jong-un decides to launch a nuclear strike on Japan and South Korea.

Shocking simulation shows potential spread of NK nuclear cloud

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A new report has revealed the shocking scale of devastation Pyongyang could wreak on its nearest neighbours, with apocalyptic levels of destruction to be expected if a nuclear strike is launched.

The Seoul metropolitan region in South Korea has a population of 24.1 million while Tokyo in Japan is home to 37.9 million people.

It is thought huge swathes of their populations could be almost instantly wiped out in the blast, with millions more injured.

Analysis by think tank 38 North assessed potential scenarios that could play out if war-mongering dictator Kim Jong-un decided to act on his threats of destruction.

North Korea news: Nuke could kill four millionGETTY

Pyongyang could wreak on its nearest neighbours

North Korea missileGETTY

North Korea could instantly kill four million people in just minutes

The website calculated its estimates based on the assumption Kim has already amassed 25 nukes with a destructive power of 15 kilotons, the same as the Hiroshima bomb dropped by the United States at the end of the Second World War.

But despot Kim’s test of a hydrogen bomb in September had an estimated yield of at least 108 kilotons – with some estimates putting it as high as 250.

And 38 North warned if just a few of these smaller bombs made it through defences to detonate over Seoul or Tokyo, the potential devastation would be catastrophic.

Report author Michael Zagurek Junior said: “The population densities for both Seoul and Tokyo are far higher today than they were during the 1940s and 1950s.

North Korea propaganda video ‘attacks’ US military

Report author Michael Zagurek Junior

“Multiple nuclear weapon detonations on both Seoul and Tokyo based on the current North Korea yield estimates could result in anywhere from 400,000 to 2 million deaths.

“With possible thermonuclear yields with the same number of weapons, the number of deaths could range between 1.3 and 3.8 million.”

This would inevitably lead to millions of people dying in just minutes of the initial blast.

And millions more could face an agonising death over months or even years if hit by the nuclear fallout.

Mr Zagreb also warned the sabre-rattling rhetoric from the US could make an attack from North Korea more likely.

North Korea news: Kim Jong UnGETTY

Kim Jong Un could drop a bomb on Seoul or Tokyo

He said: “The US carrying out any military option raises a significant risk of military escalation by the North, including the use of nuclear weapons against South Korea and Japan.

“If the ‘unthinkable’ happened, nuclear detonations over Seoul and Tokyo with North Korea’s current estimated weapon yields could result in as many as 2.1 million fatalities and 7.7 million injuries.”

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are running high as the hermit state shows no sign of slowing in its pursuit of more powerful nukes, as well as the long-range missiles needed to deliver them to their targets.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera warned next week’s anniversary of the ruling North Korea Workers Party could be marked with another missile launch.

He said: “I understand it is an important anniversary for North Korea. We would like to maintain a sense of urgency.”

North Korean diplomat arrives for meeting in Moscow

North KoreaGETTY

North Korea could have already amassed 25 nukes with a destructive power of 15 kilotons

The report comes as a 

Anton Morozov, a member of the Russian Duma’s international affairs committee, and two other Russian lawmakers visited Pyongyang on October 2 to 6, RIA reported.

Mr Morozov said: “They are preparing for new tests of a long-range missile. They even gave us mathematical calculations that they believe prove that their missile can hit the west coast of the United States.

“As far as we understand, they intend to launch one more long-range missile in the near future. And in general, their mood is rather belligerent.”

International Gallup poll: Diplomacy rather than war with North Korea

Diplomacy not bombs, negotiations not sanctions: Those were the findings of a new opinion poll on the North Korean crisis. It was published as the anti-nuclear ICAN group was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nobel Peace Prize winners ICAN protest at a North Korean embassy

“The message to politicians, including those in America, is: Take more time to pursue diplomacy and find a peaceful solution to the crisis in North Korea,” said Kancho Stoychev, chairman of the Zurich-based Gallup International Association (GIA), a global network of opinion polling institutions.

Stoychev says the fact that results from the Gallup snap poll were published on the same day the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was simply a coincidence. “It was not our intention. But perhaps that will help foster a more cautious approach to dealing with the crisis,” said Stoychev in a DW interview.

In all, some 17,107 people from 14 countries — the USA and Russia among them — participated in the Gallup poll, which was carried out between September 20 and October 1. Chinese citizens, however, did not take part. Why? Stoychev says that pollsters are prohibited from conducting snap polls in China for political reasons.

Infografik Haltung zu Nordkorea ENG

Fear of a nuclear catastrophe

The poll consisted of two questions: How likely do you think it is that North Korea will use nuclear weapons? And: Do you favor continued diplomatic efforts to find a solution, or do you think a military solution is necessary? The poll did not ask whether respondents thought that the White House also posed a threat.

The result of the poll was clear: Despite sustained provocations from Pyongyang, the vast majority of those questioned were in favor of continued diplomatic negotiations (see chart). Johnny Heald, GIA’s scientific director, is convinced that the unpredictable personality of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un greatly influenced the result. “A military approach to dealing with a leader possessing nuclear warheads and who has tested long-range missiles seems far too risky to most people,” said Heald.

US President Donald Trump und North Korean leader Kim Jong UnTV screens in South Korea showing the US and North Korean leaders

Black box North Korea

Fear of Pyongyang is indeed deep-seated. In the USA, 46 percent of respondents said that they thought the use of nuclear weapons was likely. In Germany that number was 48 percent, and it was 51 percent in Pakistan. The greatest fear of nuclear war was registered in Vietnam, at 54 percent.

Tellingly, those who feared such a scenario least were North Korea’s closest neighbors. Only 35 percent of South Korean respondents said they feared an attack, and only 23 percent of Russians voiced such concerns.

Gallup director Stoychev said: “Russia could definitely be hit by a North Korean missile, but so far Pyongyang has shown no aggression toward Russia.” He also offered an answer to the mystery of South Korean calm, explaining that the country has been living under threat of attack for decades and has simply gotten used to the situation.

Major US military bases near North KoreaMajor US military bases near North Korea

Japan wants a tougher approach

In Japan, however, 45 percent of those polled thought that a North Korean nuclear attack was possible. “The Japanese people have been in a state of alarm since a medium-range missile flew over the country in September,” says Stoychev.

That is also the reason that a large number of Japanese citizens support a military solution to the conflict (see chart). Some 49 percent of Japanese and Pakistani respondents say they support military action against North Korea.

Kancho Stoychev says he understands the sentiment, but adds that he does not think such a move would have much chance of success. Instead, he points to the tedious yet eventually successful nuclear deal that was completed with Iran in 2015.

“For me, the Iran nuclear deal is a good example. Negotiations with the international community took a long time, but in the end there was a deal. And ultimately, Iran ended it nuclear weapons program.”

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N. Korea urges struggle against ‘war-thirsty Trump’ & ‘gangster-like moves for domination’

N. Korea urges struggle against ‘war-thirsty Trump’ & ‘gangster-like moves for domination’
North Korea has called for a nationwide struggle against the US and its “gangster-like moves for domination and aggression.” The statement comes as a US warship approaches the Korean Peninsula for drills with South Korea.

“The US gangster-like moves for domination, subjugation, aggression and war are getting evermore reckless and dangerous in the wake of the frenzy of war thirsty [US President Donald] Trump who spat out the remarks of ‘total destruction of North Korea’ without hesitation,” a spokesman for the National Peace Committee of [North] Korea said, as cited by state-run KCNA agency.

“The pro-US traitors and confrontation maniacs in South Korea are fanning up such war hysteria of the US,” the statement added.

READ MORE: US warship approaches Korean Peninsula for drills with South Korea

Pyongyang also slammed the 64-year-old “mutual defense treaty” between the US and South Korea. The treaty, signed in 1953, allows Washington to station military forces in South Korea.

The treaty is an “aggressive and traitorous war document” which helps Washington to keep its “imperialist aggression forces” in South Korea, the North said.

On Friday, the USS Ronald Reagan, with nearly 80 aircraft on board, was in the South China Sea on its way to the shores of South Korea. The military exercises will likely be held around October 20, South Korean Yonhap News agency reported

The US and South Korea will reportedly conduct joint drills to detect, track, and intercept ballistic missiles, in addition to anti-submarine warfare training.

Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have been repeatedly exchanging threats recently. On one occasion, Trump said the US would “totally destroy” the North if attacked, and Kim, who he often refers to as ‘Little Rocket Man,’ “won’t be around much longer!” Pyongyang responded in kind, threatening to reduce the US to “ashes and darkness.”

In the meantime, Russia and China have repeatedly said that North Korea should freeze its nuclear and missile programs, while the US and South Korea should abstain from holding war games in the region.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again said that all sides should “ease the rhetoric and find ways for face-to-face dialogue between the United States and North Korea, as well as between North Korea and countries in the region.”

“Only this would help find balanced and reasonable decisions,” he added.

Courtesy: RT

Russia ‘ready to combine efforts’ with North Korea toward peaceful solution to nuclear crisis

Russia supported US-led sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang’s most recent nuclear test. But Russian officials have now discussed another solution with a senior North Korean diplomat in Moscow.

Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow

Russia is willing to work with North Korea on a peaceful solution to tensions sparked by Pyongyang’s recent nuclear and missile tests, the Russian Foreign Ministry said after meetings between the two sides in Moscow on Friday.

“The Russian side confirmed its readiness to combine efforts in the interests of finding ways to solve the problems in the region by peaceful, political and diplomatic means,” it said.

Choe Son-hui, director-general of the North American department in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, had earlier discussed the situation with Russian ambassador-at-large Oleg Burmistrov and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov.

Suspension-for-suspension

Moscow said one of the solutions discussed in the meetings was “the Russian-Chinese roadmap for a Korean settlement.”

Russian flag behind eagle statueThe Kremlin has repeatedly called for all sides to seek a “peaceful” solution

Russia and China have previously said they both support a “suspension-for-suspension” approach to reign in North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons program. The strategy calls for Pyongyang to stop its tests in exchange for an end to US and South Korean joint military exercises on the peninsula.

The US and South Korea most recently flew eight fighter jets and two bombers near North Korea in mid-September as a “routine” show of force.

Read more: North Korea nuclear crisis: Vladimir Putin warns against ‘global catastrophe’

Russian leaders have been particularly alarmed in recent weeks after senior US officials did not rule out armed force against Pyongyang. A public war of words between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has also caused considerable concern.

Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea during a speech to the UN last week. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened retaliation in his response, calling Trump “mentally deranged” and a “dotard.”

Russia has nevertheless agreed to US-led restrictions against Pyongyang despite Washington’s approach. On September 11, Moscow voted with the rest of the UN Security Council to pass the most far-reaching sanctions ever placed on North Korea.

amp/kms (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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