Tensions soar as North Korea warns of nuclear strike if provoked

North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed toward the western Pacific. President Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished neighbor, said in a tweet that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and that the U.S. would “solve the problem” with or without China’s help. During the past weekend, Trump deployed the Navy vessels to the Korean Peninsula as “a show of force,” a U.S. official told Reuters.

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If they [the U.S. and the South] try to ignite the spark of war, we will wipe out all of the invaders without a trace with … our strong preemptive nuclear strike.
Hwang Pyong-So, director of the political bureau of the North Korean army

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A barrage of recent North Korean tests have stoked U.S. fears that Pyongyang may soon have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland. Experts have speculated that Pyongyang has made enough progress to the that it could strike the East Coast in two to three years. The Trump administration has been reviewing its policy toward the reclusive country. Although the government contends all options are on the table, U.S. officials say nonmilitary pressure on Pyongyang with China’s help is the preferred path. China is the key to North Korean policy because it’s the smaller country’s patron — its source of food and fuel. On Monday, China and South Korea agreed to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carried out nuclear or long-range missile tests, a senior official in Seoul said. Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, met in Florida last week. On Tuesday, Trump appeared to link a trade deal to China’s help with North Korea.

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I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!
Trump tweet