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US flies advanced warplanes amid tensions with N. Korea

US flies advanced warplanes amid tensions with N. Korea”

Asked whether there were any military options the United States could take with North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk, Mr Mattis said there were, but declined to give details. The US military could not immediately confirm the latest flights.

North Korea on Friday launched its second ballistic missile over Japanese airspace in a month.

"Today, the North Korean ambassador was summoned and was told of the decision to consider him as a persona non grata, therefore he must stop working and abandon the country before 30 September", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The US reassured its "ironclad" security commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan.

The foreign ministry statement, carried by North Korea's official news agency KCNA, said: "The increased moves of the USA and its vassal forces to impose sanctions and pressure on the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] will only increase our pace towards the ultimate completion of the state nuclear force". USA nuclear weapons were withdrawn from the Korean peninsula in the early 1990s at the close of the Cold War.

Given North Korea's near total dependence on China for its global economic ties, the United States and others have consistently called for China to tighten economic sanctions.

China and Russian Federation - both permanent members of the UN Security Council - voted for the new sanctions against North Korea last week, but they are both against tough measures that will topple Kim Jong-un's regime and agreed to cooperate over the matter.

Although China is frustrated with Pyongyang, it does not believe that the economic sanctions enforced will halt the country's nuclear program, which the DPRK sees as its best way to protect itself from the US.

Four more of Japan's 34 PAC-3 units, largely used to defend the capital region, were relocated to southwestern Japan recently after North Korea warned of sending missiles toward the US territory of Guam.

It is just one of several that major world powers are engaged in on, over and near the Korean peninsula, amid heightened tension in the wake of North Korea's increasingly frequent missile tests and its sixth nuclear test this month.

President Trump has repeatedly refused to rule out a military strike on North Korea's nuclear facilities.

On Sept. 3, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test that was by far its most powerful to date.

In our two lead pieces this week, Chen Dongxiao of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, and Jia Qingguo of Peking University, underscore the urgent need for new thinking in managing the North Korean nuclear issue.



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