North Korea threatens nuclear strike on Australia for backing US

The Global Times, controlled by China's Communist Party, in an editorial said Beijing would oppose if Washington launches a military attack on North Korea's nuclear facility through "diplomatic channels" but won't get "involved through military action", suggesting China could condone USA strike if it is restricted to nuclear test and missile launch sites.

Early Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported that North Korea arrested a USA citizen in Pyongyang on Friday, citing two unnamed sources.

China's foreign minister called Sunday for the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula amid rising tension over North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes. Trump has dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, along with a "very powerful armada", to the Korean peninsula, which Pyongyang has threatened to sink "with a single strike".

China, however, warned of its full-scale military intervention if Washington and Seoul advance ground troops beyond the inter-Korean border to take over its Communist ally, saying it would not "sit back and watch foreign military forces overthrow the Pyongyang regime".

As of Sunday night, North Korea's official media had not reported on the detention. The U.S. could also impose secondary sanctions, meaning Chinese companies doing business with North Korea would be penalized and Pyongyang's access to the world's financial system would be even further restricted.

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence toured the demilitarized zone that separates the North from South Korea, and declared that "all options were on the table" and that Kim should not test the U.S.'s "strength and resolve".

At least two other Americans are now detained in North Korea. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV quoted President Xi Jinping as telling Trump that China strongly opposes North Korea's nuclear weapons program and hopes "all parties will exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation".

North Korea's programme, condemned by successive United Nations resolutions, has the strategic aim of building a nuclear missile capable of reaching the U.S., 9500 kilometres away.

Wang Yi, who is visiting Greece to take part in an global forum on ancient civilizations, made the comments when asked about North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

North Korea's Kim should read the current affairs with a cool head.

"If Australia persists in following the U.S. moves to isolate and stifle North Korea ... this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of North Korea", the spokesman said.

The displayed military hardware included prototype ICBMs and new midrange solid-fuel missiles that can be fired from land mobile launchers and submarines, making them harder to detect before launch.

North Korea had earlier shown signs it was working on a new ICBM.

Experts say these missiles could one day be capable of hitting targets as far as the continental United States, although North Korea has yet to flight test them.

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