The picture above from 2013 shows leader Kim Jong Un ordering strategic rocket forces to be on standby to strike US and South Korean targets at any time. "If we agree (with China's offer), it means that the North will maintain its nuclear weapons and that we will have to recognize it as a nuclear-armed state", he said.
"Military force can not resolve the issue", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing. "Amid tensions we will also find a kind of opportunity to return to talks".
"I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea", U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday.
"Whatever comes from USA politicians, if their words are created to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them".
So the United States has at least succeeded in getting China to be more forthright about this terrifying problem.
Tensions are deepening as the United States has sent an aircraft carrier to waters off the peninsula and is conducting its biggest-ever joint military exercises with South Korea.
Foreign journalists visiting North Korea gathered in Pyongyang for "a big and important event" on Thursday with tensions high over the possibility of a new weapons test by the isolated state and as a US carrier group sails towards the Korean peninsula. On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry issued a travel advisory to Japanese residents and tourists in South Korea, reminding them of a growing tension.
The Pentagon told Reuters in response to the NBC story that the agency does not comment on possible attacks "nor publicly speculate on possible scenarios". It is also believed that North Korea may use the nuclear test as part of this Sunday's birthday celebration of leader Kim Jong-un's grandfather, Kim Il-sung, founder of the current North Korean regime.
North Korea warned earlier this week that a "big event" would happen in the coming days. It tested a newly developed intermediate-range missile a year ago.
NBC News early Friday reported the U.S. is ready for a strike, having positioned two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles, one just 480 kilometers from the North's nuclear test site, as well as bombers in Guam, citing multiple senior intelligence officials.
As NBC News pointed out, a reckless military operation by Trump in North Korea could encourage North Korean madman Kim Jong-un to launch an attack on American ally South Korea, triggering an all-out war in the region that could have global ramifications.
The Voice of America, quoting U.S. government and other sources, said North Korea "has apparently placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it could be detonated Saturday AM Korea time".
Many North Korea watchers believe the country could have a viable nuclear warhead and a ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States mainland within the next few years.
Asked if there was hope that China would do more to slow or suspend its nuclear programme, he replied: "I'm counting on it".
In North Korea, the previous administration's approach was known as "strategic patience", although during former President Barack Obama's time in office, Pyongyang tested four nuclear devices.
Wang warned that history would hold any instigator to account. "It doesn't make any difference if it does or not", Trump said.
He said: "North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of".
"As soon as North Korea complies with China's declared advice and suspends nuclear activities".
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe underscored fears about North Korea, saying it could have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.
But a senior Japanese diplomat said Japan also did not see a high risk of military action. Officials say that two destroyers are within range of North Korea to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The president said he had spent a lot of time with Xi last week in Florida.