The US, an ally of Japan that has extensive military presence in the region, has reacted harshly to North Korea's missile launches in particular and the weapons programs in general. The U.S. and Japanese jets also flew in formation over waters near Kyushu, Japan, a southern portion of the country that is the closest major island to the Korean Peninsula.
Spain is following in the footsteps of Mexico and Peru and is the first European country to expel its North Korean ambassador due to Pyongyang's nuclear issue. Mattis acknowledged discussing that with his South Korean counterpart but declined to say whether that option was under consideration. He also called Jong Un "Rocket Man". There has been particular concern since Kim Jong Un recently threatened the United States territory of Guam.
Pyongyang has launched dozens of missiles as it accelerates a weapons programme created to provide the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
The escalating standoff between the United States and its allies and North Korea prompted US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to say that if the United States exhausts its diplomatic options to stop North Korea, military force remains an option.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un has warned that more sanctions and pressure from the newly imposed UN sanctions will only make it accelerate its nuclear programme. He previously said the idea should be "deeply considered" by the allies, inflaming already-heated debate on the issue.
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People watch a TV screen showing a local news program reporting about North Korea's missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea.
"The so-called "China's responsibility theory" is essentially moral kidnapping", the People's Daily said in a commentary.
The US military carried out an aerial military drill on Monday with South Korea near the border between the Koreas, the defence ministry in Seoul said.The drill was to "demonstrate the deterrence capability of the US-South Korea alliance against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats", it added.
As tensions continue to ratchet up with North Korea, CNN has learned that the USA is considering shooting down a North Korean ballistic missile even if it does not directly threaten the U.S. or its allies. He answered: "Yes there are, but I will not go into details".
China's foreign ministry also said the pressures were counterproductive and that sanctions should be imposed by the global community as a whole.
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