Korean official blames Trump for region's 'vicious cycle'

Pyongyang recently tested a ballistic missile and claims it is close to perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear warhead that could attack the USA mainland.

Han Song Ryol, North Korea's vice foreign minister, listens to a translator during an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

A conflict over North Korea could break out "at any moment", China's foreign minister Wang Yi said Friday, warning there would be "no winner" in any war as tensions soar with the US.

A North Korea monitor has reported that Pyongyang is in the final stages of its next nuclear test.

Even before North Korea had a nuclear program, that conventional arsenal was widely feared for having the capability of not only inflicting massive damage and casualties on U.S. bases in South Korea, but having the potential to do devastating amounts of damage to densely populated South Korean cities like Seoul.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on the USA and China to team to find a peaceful resolution to North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

On Thursday, China, North Korea's sole major ally and benefactor, urged the reclusive state to halt its nuclear program exchange for protection and security.

The state-backed Chinese newspaper Global Times said the best course for North Korea would be to give up its nuclear program, and it promised that Beijing will protect the North if that happens. Remember, Pyongyang has a record of launching provocations on or around important anniversaries and it has two coming up - North Korean founder Kim Il-sung's birthday on Saturday and its Military Foundation Day later in the month.

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But the White House would be trying to call a very unsafe bluff by attacking and just betting North Korea doesn't have deliverable nuclear warheads yet.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives for the official opening of the Ryomyong residential area, on Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea. In 2012, North Korea tried but failed to launch a long-range missile carrying a satellite, while previous year it tested a barrage of newly developed intermediate-range missiles.

Japan, under its postwar constitution, has limited the role of its military to self-defense only and relied on the US for offensive and nuclear capability.

Although South Korean and American troops are preparing for a round of joint military exercises - a regular event that Pyongyang has denounced as preparations for an invasion that would justify a massive counterattack - a spokesman for the South Korean joint chiefs of staff said Thursday that Seoul has seen no indications any military action by the North is imminent.

Many experts believe that at its current pace of testing, North Korea could reach that potentially game-changing milestone within a few years - under Trump's watch as president. "Whatever comes from the USA, we will cope with it".

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have surged in recent days.

News that the USA had dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal, a 10,000-kilogram explosive that headline writers called "the mother of all bombs", was taken as a message directed at Kim Jong Un.

Abe's speech coincided with South Korea saying it believed it would be consulted by the United States ahead of any pre-emptive strike against the North. Trump brushed off questions about whether the bombing was a message for Pyongyang, but he stressed his feeling that North Korea is "a problem that will be taken care of".

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