South Korea says key parts of a contentious US missile defense system have been installed a day after rival North Korea showed off its military power.
In the end, no nuclear test was held that day, but a performance on the Day of the Sun still showed a propaganda video where missiles struck the United States and a U.S. flag was left in flames.
Lavrov voiced what he said was Russia's "profound concern" over both the "ongoing implementation of Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs, and the disproportionate expansion of military activity of the United States and its regional allies under the pretext of a North Korean threat".
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that President Donald Trump will not allow North Korea to develop missiles that could threaten the United States, following a dinner with the commander-in-chief Monday night. North Korea has an air base in Wonsan and missiles have also been tested there.
The South Korean military was monitoring the situation and "firmly maintaining readiness", it said. According to Yonhap news agency, the parts include two or three launchers, intercept missiles and a radar.
But the timing, as the U.S. increases its military presence in the area, allows North Korea to remind its opponents that it could cause crippling damage with conventional artillery to highly populated areas in South Korea.
"There is no limit to the strike power of the People's Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment including various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles", the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page editorial. This year is the 85th anniversary of the founding of North Korean army.
There have been occasions in the past when political tensions have reached crisis point - most recently in April 2013 - but Trump's firm rhetoric on North Korea in recent weeks is unusual for a U.S. leader.
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Trump has reached out to Chinese leader Xi Jinping to pressure North Korea, but McCain said on Tuesday: "I'm very skeptical about the Chinese willingness to really rein in [North] Korea".
China, North Korea's sole major ally which nevertheless objects to its weapons development, has repeatedly called for calm, and its envoy for Korean affairs, Wu Dawei, was in Tokyo on Tuesday. At a daily news briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China urged the United States and South Korea to withdraw the system.
Japan's envoy on North Korea, Kenji Kanasugi, said after talks with his US and South Korean counterparts that they agreed China should take a concrete role to resolve the crisis and it could use an oil embargo as a tool to press the North.
"We believe China has a very, very important role to play", said the USA envoy for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun.
Why wouldn't North Korea use nuclear weapons against South Korea? It did not elaborate.
President Donald Trump aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile and proliferation programs, and is engaging the worldwide community to achieve that and persuade Kim Jong Un's government "to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue".
Its deployment was met with threats by the North Koreans.