MONDAY: Trump talks with Asian leaders about North Korea

On Monday, President Trump spoke separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe via telephone as tensions with North Korea continue to rise and the country gets closer to launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

According to Chinese broadcaster CCTV, Xi and Trump discussed China’s disapproval of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Xi said he hopes “all parties will exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation.” Trump continues to urge China to increase its pressure on North Korea, as an ally, versus using military action or trying to overthrow Kim Jong-un’s regime.

After his discussion with Trump, Abe told reporters, “The North Korean nuclear and missile problem is an extremely serious security threat to not only the international community but also our country.” Japan and the United States aim to urge North Korea to stop its dangerous actions.

Talks come amidst reports of increased action around North Korea’s nuclear test site, according to U.S. commercial satellite images.

In addition, Kim has threatened that his country is in its “final stage” of preparing for an ICBM launch, while South Korea’s Defense Ministry confirms the North appears able to conduct “strategic provocations” at any time.

This week, on April 25, North Korea will celebrate the anniversary of its military, often marking such significant dates by demonstrating its military capabilities, as it did earlier this month by launching a Scud-type missile and a mid-range missile. Both earlier launches were deemed failures, but the country continues to threaten war.

South Korean Acting Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn advised his military to strengthen its “immediate response posture” in case the North takes action on April 25.

Finally, late Friday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said President Trump’s actions such as sending the USS Carl Vinson into the Korean Peninsula are pushing the region into an “extremely dangerous phase.”

The ministry also said North Korea “will react to a total war with an all-out war, a nuclear war with nuclear strikes of its own style and surely win a victory in the death-defying struggle against the U.S. imperialists.”

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