The Latest: US military buildup off Koreas gathers pace


PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The Latest on tensions on the Korean Peninsula (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

South Korea says a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine has docked in the southern port of Busan, but it isn’t expected to participate in joint naval exercises with South Korea.

An official from South Korea’s navy said Tuesday the USS Michigan is making a routine stop to rest its crews and reload supplies. The submarine arrived on the same day North Korea celebrates the anniversary of the founding of its military.

North Korea often marks significant dates with show of military capability, and South Korean officials have said the North could be preparing another round of nuclear or missile tests around the anniversary.

President Donald Trump has dispatched to the region what he called an “armada” of ships, including an aircraft carrier, in a show of force. South Korea’s navy is planning to hold joint naval drills with U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson battle group, which has trained with Japanese destroyers in recent days, around the weekend.

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11:15 a.m.

Envoys from Japan, the U.S. and South Korea have gathered in Tokyo to discuss North Korea amid concern it may carry out another nuclear or missile test.

Japanese officials say U.S. representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun met Tuesday with his Japanese counterpart Kenji Kanasugi and Kim Hong-kyun of South Korea to share their latest analyses and discuss cooperation.

There is speculation that North Korea may carry out another nuclear or missile test to mark the anniversary of its armed forces Tuesday. It launched a missile one day after the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il Sung on April 15.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the three envoys were to deepen cooperation and stay on the same page amid growing tension.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry also announced that China’s envoy for North Korea, Wu Dawei, will visit Tokyo later Tuesday for talks with Kanasugi.

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11:10 a.m.

North Korea’s capital is quiet on Tuesday amid expectations of some sort of a big event to mark the anniversary of the founding of the country’s military.

The morning came and went without any nuclear tests or ballistic missile launches and all that is publicly scheduled for the day are gatherings for mass dancing, a common celebratory feature of major North Korean holidays.

The main political event to mark the anniversary apparently was a “national meeting” held the day before, when thousands of senior military and civilian officials gathered at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un did not attend. It was not known how he is marking Tuesday’s anniversary.

At the meeting, army Gen. Pak Yong Sik, North Korea’s minister of defense, reiterated Pyongyang’s claim that the country is ready to use pre-emptive strikes or any other measures it deems necessary to defend itself against the “U.S. imperialists.”

He told the gathering: “The situation prevailing on the Korean Peninsula is so tense that a nuclear war may break out due to the frantic war drills of the U.S. imperialists and their vassal forces for aggression.”