Trump team softens war talk on NKorea

(Kim Jun-hum/Yonhap via AP). Residents there have protested, anxious they'll become a target. A nuclear-powered OH class submarine, the USS Michigan, pulled into the South Korean port of Busan for a "routine" hull check.

(Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers/U.S. Navy via AP).

A USA submarine created to carry 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles entered a South Korean port on Tuesday as the USS Carl Vinson carrier group steamed towards the Korean waters in an effort to deter the North from a sixth nuclear test and more missile launches.

US President Donald Trump is set to hold a classified briefing for the entire Senate on the situation in North Korea amid mounting concern over its nuclear and missile tests.

The briefing, involving 100 senators as well as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis, is being held on Wednesday.

At a lunch at the White House, April 24, President Trump told ambassadors from countries on the U.N. Security Council that they must be prepared to impose new sanctions on North Korea amid escalating tensions over its missile and nuclear programs. China's defence ministry has also repeatedly criticized THAAD's deployment and said the military will take unspecified actions in response.

But it certainly reflected the increased American alarm over North Korea's progress in developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the USA mainland.

The White House reported that Trump decried North Korea's "continued belligerence" in his call with Xi. The USS Michigan submarine docked Tuesday in South Korea just as the North carried out major live-fire exercises to mark the anniversary of the foundation of the isolated nation's military.

Admiral Harry Harris of the U.S. Pacific Command defended the move in a House committee hearing Wednesday.

Reporters rushed to retrieve their phones from outside the room to be the first to break the news over Twitter that Trump would institute new tariffs on softwood lumber entering the USA from Canada, sources said.

Harris said the THAAD system "will be operational in the coming days". But the administration's statement after briefing senators - all 100 members were invited - outlined a similar approach to the Obama administration's focus on pressuring Pyongyang to return to long-stalled denuclearization talks.

He argued that all options remained on the table, saying that "we want to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not to his knees".


United States officials have warned that a conflict with North Korea could have a devastating effect on ally South Korea and USA troops based there, a point Pyongyang underscored by a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military.

"China is the key to this", said Sen.

Graham and McCain had dinner with the president earlier this week.

North Korea has carried out a series of missile launches in recent months and the USA has responded by deploying an aircraft carrier group to the region. SANCTUARY CITIES A USA judge blocks Trump's executive order that sought to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, dealing another legal blow to the administration's efforts to toughen immigration enforcement. Tillerson is chairing a U.N. Security Council meeting Friday created to get nations to enforce existing penalties on North Korea and weigh new ones.

U.S. officials have warned that a conflict with North Korea could have a devastating effect on ally South Korea and USA troops based there, a point Pyongyang underscored by a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military.Harris conceded that North Korean retaliation to any United States strikes could cause many casualties, but added that there was the risk "of a lot more Koreans and Japanese and Americans dying if North Korea achieves its nuclear aims and does what (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) has said it's going to do".

On Saturday, United States Vice President Mike Pence said that the carrier group would arrive "within days", but revealed no further details.

They said it did not appear he had made up his mind on whether to use force against North Korea. It vowed victory in a "death-defying struggle against the US imperialists".

A targeted USA attack to take out North Korea's nuclear weapons program could spark a wider war on the Korean peninsula, lawmakers and experts have warned.

China has urged restraint by both Pyongyang and Washington.

During a visit to Greece, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there were already enough shows of force. That was a reference to USA and South Korean war games.

China opposes the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, being installed in South Korea.

It also angered China, which fears the system's radar capabilities will affect its own military security, and changes the balance of power in the region.

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