North Korea 'has nuclear weapon it can mount on rocket' warns US, as John Kerry warns missile launch would be 'huge mistake'

Mr Kerry arrived South Korea as part of a unusual diplomatic journey, traveling directly into a region bracing for a possible North Korean missile test

US secretary of state John Kerry has warned that threats of a nuclear test from North Korea will 'gain nothing' and that an anticipated missile launch by Pyongyang would be a "provocative act" and a "huge mistake".

Mr Kerry arrived in South Korea this morning as part of an unusual diplomatic journey, traveling directly into a region bracing for a possible North Korean missile test and risking that his presence alone could spur Pyongyang into another headline-seeking provocation.

Mr Kerry said the US and its Asian ally will not accept the North as a nuclear power, adding that its rhetoric is "unacceptable".

South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung-se called Pyongyang's threats a "grave provocation" to the entire international community.

Earlier intelligence reports from Japan, South Korea and America claim a North Korean missile test could take place at any time it emerged today as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the South Korean capital Seoul.

A US agency said last night that North Korea has a nuclear weapon it can mount on a missile, adding an ominous dimension to the tensions on the Korean peninsula as Kerry arrived for talks.

However, the assessment by the Pentagon's Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) was swiftly dismissed by several US officials and South Korea.

Asked if war was imminent, a US official in South Korea said: "Not at all".

Washington was quick to clarify the meaning of the DIA statement saying: "In today's House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of Defence budget, a member of the committee read an unclassified passage in a classified report on North Korea's nuclear capabilities," Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

"While I cannot speak to all the details of a report that is classified in its entirety, it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed, or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage."

Despite this the US government is said to be concerned about the potential for a miscalculation by North Korea's inexperienced 30-year-old leader, Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-un's youth and inexperience make him very vulnerable to miscalculation. Our greatest concern is a miscalculation and where that may lead," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We have seen no indications of massive troop movements, or troops massing on the border, or massive exercises or anything like that that would back up any of the rhetoric that is going on."

Bellicose rhetoric from the secretive regime has become increasingly frequent in recent months as the young leader attempts to sure-up support at home.

The regime has also been angered at the imposition of new sanctions on the country following an underground nuclear test in February this year.

It was the third such test carried out by the regime in just seven years.

Annual joint military drills carried out by South Korea and the US last month, which included the use of B-2 nuclear enabled stealth bombers, also further raised tensions on the peninsula.

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Year 1 Primary Supply Teachers needed for...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: EY/KS1 Qualified Teaching Assistant J...

Qualified and unqualified nursery assistants

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified and unquali...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: KS1 & KS2 Teaching Job in Plymouth an...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album