Pentagon to test ability to shoot down North Korean missiles

296 North Koreans had surrendered to authorities over the last week, as it enforces new visa requirements following a dispute over the murder of the half-brother of North Korea's leader.

The United States and Russian Federation clashed at the United Nations on Wednesday over a US-drafted Security Council statement to condemn North Korea's latest failed ballistic missile test. Diplomats said China had agreed to the statement.

One of the actions will involve test-firing an improved Standard Missile off a Navy ship, a defense official said.

And a day later it conducted a failed missile test, which drew worldwide condemnation. The new version has an improved booster and warhead.

The program has been in development with Japan and is aimed at shooting down intermediate-range North Korean missiles that pose a threat to the U.S. ally.

A separate critical test in the Pacific region, to be held at the end of May, will examine the ability of the U.S. to shoot down a future North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile that could threaten the US.

That test involves long-range ground-based interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California.

The New York Times last month reported that under former president Barack Obama the USA stepped up cyber attacks against North Korea to try to sabotage its missiles before launch or just as they lift off.

It banned imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off its most important export and Chinese media has raised the possibility of restricting oil shipments to North Korea if it unleashed more provocations.

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The review of military options is essentially "due diligence", the official said.

South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, at a meeting with top officials on Thursday, repeatedly called for the military and security ministries to maintain vigilance.

He also said his country had rejected a UN Security Council briefing on North Korea planned for April 28, which US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to attend.

The official emphasized that all of the ongoing work doesn't change the administration - and Pentagon's - emphasis on the need for a peaceful diplomatic solution. Standard policy - which calls for shooting down of a North Korean missile after launch if the trajectory is deemed to threaten South Korea, Japan or the United States - remains in place.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told United Nations reporters it was "up to North Korea to avoid further trouble".

It is a liquid-fueled, medium-range missile launched from a rocket stand, not a mobile missile launcher, and is believed to be the same missile as one used in another test that failed earlier this month.

"Once Supreme Commander Kim Jong-Un issues an order, they will charge with resolve to thrust a sword through the enemy's heart like lighting over Mt. Paektu", an announced said during the parade broadcast, referring to the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, according to Yonhap.

North Korea has a long history of portraying the mock violent demise of the United States in animated videos, usually released to mark national holidays.

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