Donald Trump's 'armada' steams on as North Korea warns of nuclear strike on US

Japan sending warships to join US fleet in attempt to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions

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The Independent Online

North Korean state media has warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of aggression as a US aircraft strike group steams towards the Korean peninsula in a show of force.

President Donald Trump described the carrier group, headed by the USS Carl Vinson, as an "armada".

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a peaceful resolution of rising tensions on the Korean peninsula in a call with Mr Trump. 

North Korea 'ready for war' after US sends navy strike group to peninsula

Mr Xi stressed China "is committed to the target of denuclearisation on the peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and advocates resolving problems through peaceful means," Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.

"China is willing to maintain close communication and coordination with the US side", Mr Xi said.

Mr Trump ordered the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to head for the Korean peninsula in an attempt to deter North Korea's nuclear and long-range missile ambitions, which it is developing in defiance of UN resolutions and sanctions.

There are concerns the hermit kingdom could conduct a nuclear test this weekend to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founding father Kim Il-sung.

In an interview with Fox Business Network, the President said: "We are sending an armada. Very powerful. 

"We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you."

He said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was "doing the wrong thing" and, when asked if he thought Mr Kim was mentally fit, replied: "œI don't know. I don't know him."

Japan is reportedly preparing to send several warships to join the US strike group in a joint show of force, two sources in Tokyo told Reuters.

North Korea has said it is prepared to respond to any US aggression.

"Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the US invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the U.S. mainland," the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

It comes after Mr Trump tweeted to say North Korea was "looking for trouble" and the US would "solve the problem" with our without the help of China.

"I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the US will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!" Mr Trump tweeted.

In another tweet, he said: "North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!"

"USA," he added.

On the morning he sent his tweets, China had ordered its training companies to return coal from North Korea to the isolated country.

Following the order, a fleet of North Korean cargo ships headed home to the port of Nampo, shipping data revealed. 

However, has Beijing said it will not countenance measures that could bring about a collapse of the regime that could release a flood of refugees across its border, destabilise northeast Asia and result in a US-friendly government taking power in Pyongyang. 

Additional reporting by agencies

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