N Korea stages large-scale artillery drill as U.S. submarine docks in South

Japan Self Defense Force members set up a PAC-3 Patriot missile unit deployed ahead of North Korea's planned rocket launch at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo Tuesday

Speaking at a security conference in Moscow on April 26, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that what he called the "accelerated deployment" of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was "a highly destabilizing factor" on the Korean Peninsula.

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.

The United States and South Korea agreed to deploy THAAD in response to the threat of missile launches by North Korea.

South Korea's navy said it was conducting a live-fire exercise with US destroyers in waters west of the Korean peninsula and would soon join the carrier strike group approaching the region.

Trump said North Korea "is a real threat to the world".

The nuclear-powered submarine the USS Michigan, which arrived in the South Korean port of Busan, is built to carry and launch ballistic missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The comments came as Japan conducted exercises with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters. About 200 residents and protesters rallied against THAAD in front of a local community centre, some hurling plastic water bottles.

On Wednesday, CNN was told by a North Korean government official with knowledge of the event that it was the largest ever drill conducted by the country's military and involved 300 artillery guns.

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Trump invited the entire U.S. senate to the White House yesterday for a briefing about the situation in North Korea. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke to Trump on Monday, is urging restraint from both Pyongyang and Washington.

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.

What precisely Trump might do to take on North Korea remains unclear.

The Trump administration has taken the unusual step of calling the entire US Senate to a meeting at the White House, for a briefing on North Korea with the US secretaries of Defense and State.

Washington and Pyongyang have been ratcheting up pressure on each other in recent weeks, with the United States sending a aircraft carrier group and nuclear submarine to the region and North Korea attempting more missile launches in defiance of layers of UN sanctions.

The streets of Pyongyang, however, were quiet for Tuesday's anniversary, which was overshadowed by April 15 celebrations for the birthday of the nation's late founder Kim Il Sung, and were marked by a missile test the following day. An unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said the US administration's policy to maximize pressure on North Korea was "little short of lighting the fuse of total war", the state news agency reported Tuesday.

The Trump administration is also upping the ante diplomatically.

Tillerson will be "very vocal" about nations enforcing sanctions on North Korea, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

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