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Police clash with protesters in South Korea as more THAAD launchers arrive

Police clash with protesters in South Korea as more THAAD launchers arrive”

"The worldwide community must unite in applying the greatest possible pressure on North Korea", Abe said in a speech alongside Putin and South Korea's Moon Jae-in at an economic forum in Vladivostok.

The decision to deploy the four additional THAAD launchers comes amid increased threats from North Korea, which shows no signs of ending its nuclear or ballistic missile tests, warning on Tuesday that more "gift packages" are on the way if the USA continues its "reckless provocations".

Seoul and Washington agreed in July 2016 to station a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea to counter the growing threat from the North.

A THAAD battery normally consists of six launchers that can fire up to 48 interceptor missiles, but only two launchers have been operational at the site.

"It is impossible to intimidate them", Putin said in Vladivostok, calling for "common sense" to prevail in the US.

After the meeting, Abe and Moon issued a statement saying "now is the time to further increase sanctions and pressures against the North as much as possible rather than seeking dialogue", according to Moon's spokesman Yoon Young-chan.

There was further evidence that North Korea had made significant progress in its nuclear programme, with Japan saying it had revised upwards the estimated yield from Sunday's bomb to 160 kilotons - making it more than 10 times bigger than the Hiroshima bomb.

"If we work together, we can come up with a collective solution to the North Korean problem", Moon Chung-in said.

The clashes came as South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe met in Russia's Far East and repeated their calls for stronger punishment of North Korea over its nuclear ambitions, including denying the country oil supplies.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has said the United States will seek a Security Council vote on its proposed sanctions on Monday.

Speaking at the forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged all sides to step back from military confrontation.

On his way to participate in a tax reform event, Trump told reporters that military action against North Korea was "not a first choice, but we will see what happens", Xinhua news agency reported. It will authorise me to stop doing trade, and put sanctions on anybody that does trade with North Korea.

Mr Moon and Mr Abe agreed to co-operate on seeking tougher United Nations sanctions against North Korea and pledged to strengthen efforts to persuade Beijing and Moscow to cut off oil supplies to the North, said Mr Moon's press secretary.

THAAD has also been opposed by peace campaigners, who have held rallies in Seoul and other cities warning it could lead to an escalation of tensions with North Korea.

Beijing says the system's powerful radars will be able to monitor flights and missile launches deep inside northeastern China.

South Korea is closely watching North Korea over the possibility it may test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile as soon as Saturday when it celebrates its founding anniversary.



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