North Korea resumes nuclear test preparations - South Korean paper

North Korea's state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial the country is ready to illustrate its "military force" by sinking a "nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike", reports CNN.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all sides to exercise restraint on Monday in a call with U.S. President Donald Trump, as a nervous South Korea and Japan sought to join drills with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters.

The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson sails with its strike force in the South China Sea in a photo taken earlier this month. The Japanese ships that are carrying out the joint exercises with the USS Carl Vinson carrier group are the Ashigara, an Aegis-equipped destroyer, and the Samidare, one of Japan's main warships, which sailed out of the port of Sasebo in Nagasaki on April 22.

"It is important for them to hold a U.S. citizen hostage at this point to prevent Washington from carrying out a decapitation of [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un", former defector Ahn Chan-il told reporters, referring to the North's fears that the USA plans a secret military strike to topple its leader.

South Korean and USA officials have feared for some time that North Korea could soon carry out its sixth nuclear test.

"Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a United States nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike", the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary.

Meanwhile, a Korean-American professor - believed to be the third US citizen to be detained by North Korea - was arrested Friday at Pyongyang International Airport as he tried to leave the country, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday.

This followed a North Korean ballistic missile test. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday it would arrive "within days" but gave no other details.North Korea remained defiant.

The man was a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST), Yonhap said, citing unnamed sources.

It may be recalled that North Korea will be celebrating the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People's Army on Tuesday.

The website 38 North, which monitors the regime, published satellite imagery showing increased activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, renewing concerns that another nuke test could be imminent.

It has also carried out a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Trump has vowed to prevent North Korea from acquiring the capability to hit the United States with a nuclear missile and has said all options are on the table, including a pre-emptive military strike.

Tension also rose after a recent failed missile test by the North and a massive military parade showing off its latest hardware.

It has in the past marked important anniversaries with tests of its weapons.

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