Kim watches North Korean army fire 400-cannon 'bombardment' to mark anniversary

Crowds in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, laid flowers and paid respects at giant statues of the country's former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, one day after the minister of defense reiterated that the North is ready to use pre-emptive strikes or any measures it deems necessary to defend itself against the "U.S. imperialists".

In a separate statement, the South Korean President's Office said a meeting had been held to discuss the situation.

North Korea often marks significant dates by displaying military capability.

The drills coincided with military exercises held by US and South Korean navies in the Yellow Sea, off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula and as the USS Michigan, one of US's most powerful submarines, arrived in South Korea.

The U.S. State Department said it was aware of reports that an American had been detained but declined to reveal details.

On top of trilateral talks in Tokyo between Japan, South Korea and the US taking place Tuesday, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke over the phone Monday night, the second time in as many weeks.

USA envoy for North Korea Joseph Yun says he and his counterparts from Japan and South Korea agreed to coordinate "all actions" on North Korea.

A young girl watches as North Korean men and women take part in a mass dance on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Kim Dong Chul, who was born in South Korea but is also believed to have US citizenship, is serving a sentence of 10 years for espionage.

"Cooperation with China and Russian Federation is the most important for effective pressure on North Korea", he said.

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The US Border Patrol has also arrested several others in connection with the investigation, but has yet to release details. As Alexander notes, suspending the safe third country agreement would allow Canada to take control of its borders again.

The North has also tested multiple high-thrust rocket engines, potentially for an intercontinental ballistic missile, and there has been a lot of activity around the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, leading some observers to conclude that North Korea will soon conduct a sixth nuclear test in the near future.

Despite the buildup, President Donald Trump has reportedly settled on a strategy that emphasizes increased pressure on North Korea with the help of China, the North's only major ally, instead of military options or trying to overthrow North Korea's government.

Yun says China especially has "a very, very important role" to play. The reason for his arrest was not immediately available.

The State Department also said it was aware of the report about a USA citizen being detained, but declined further comment "due to privacy considerations". "The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programmes".

An official from South Korea's navy said Tuesday the USS Michigan is making a routine stop to rest its crews and reload supplies.

Japanese officials say US representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun met Tuesday with his Japanese counterpart Kenji Kanasugi and Kim Hong-kyun of South Korea to share their latest analyses and discuss cooperation.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshide Suga told media that China's envoy for Korean affairs, Wu Dawei, would hold talks with Japanese Foreign Ministry officials.

"If you do this kind of ratcheting (up) of rhetorical tensions but also sending military hardware into the region, if you do that absent of any kind of offramp or door or window for the North Koreans to consider walking through and reengaging in any sort of discussions, bad things are going to happen", he added.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un did not attend.

  • Megan Austin