North Korea continues to ramp up tensions with the US, with Kim Jong-un threatening to conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.
Donald Trump has warned that military action is a possibility, and has agreed to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin to solve the “very dangerous” situation.
The US president has already moved an anti-missile system, submarines and aircraft carriers into South Korea in a major show of military might.
Kim Jong-un has broken ties with his sole ally China, warning Beijing of “grave consequences” if it sides with the US.
With no clear solution to the conflict in sight and fears that nuclear war could be imminent, here are the latest updates on the situation.
Sunday May 7
1am BST: Kim Jong-un has continued his sabre-rattling with an astonishing outburst unleashed against USA.
In an editorial published by state-run media agency KNCA, North Korea attacked President Donald Trump’s decision to send naval forces to the Japan Sea.
It said: “This is a stern warning to the US imperialists and their stooges running amuck for aggression and war moves.
“The world will clearly witness how the crime-woven history of the US imperialists will be over, how the despicable remaining days of the south Korean puppet forces will come to an end and how national reunification, the cherished desire of the Korean nation, will be achieved.”
Saturday May 6
9pm BST: North Korean troops are being motivated to fight against the US by being made to watch a bizarre Godzilla-like film – which was produced by Kim Jong-un’s father.
The 1985 film Pulgasari is considered to be a ‘must-see’ movie for all North Korean troops as it depicts a group of peasants banding together and defeating a much larger and more powerful enemy, in the case of this film a monster not too dissimilar to the Japanese classic Godzilla.
According to the online film site IMDB, the film is set in feudal Korea which is ruled by an evil and ruthless king.
A blacksmith, who is being starved to death by the tyrant, makes a figurine, Pulgasari, before he dies and the blood of his daughter bring the creature to life who fights with the peasants to overcome the monarch.
The film, designed as a piece of propaganda, has now been dusted down and is being shown after tensions have been rising in the area, especially with the US as well as Japan with either side ratcheting up the threats.
Kim Jong-un recently threatened to hit his neighbour South Korea in a military strike whilst visiting a military base and is believed to be building secret islands where he can launch nuclear missiles from.
Similarly US President Donald Trump has also been sabre-rattling and has sent an armada, including an aircraft carrier, to the area and is currently station off the coast of North Korea.
Then North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, father of the country’s ruler, was a huge fan of the director Sang-ok Shin from South Korea, and since North and South have technically been at war since 1951 and have no diplomatic relations, Kim had him kidnapped.
Mr Shin eventually escaped back to South Korea, but not before he had been forced to make this movie for the erratic North Korean leader.
In a 2003 interview with The Guardian, Mr Shin said: “I hated communism, but I had to pretend to be devoted to it, to escape from this barren republic. It was lunacy.”
1am BST: IRAN has been increasingly drawing influence from North Korea to strengthen its own military technology, Pentagon officials have claimed.
After Tehran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a “midget” submarine this week, intelligence reports claimed the vessel was based on a design from Kim Jong-un’s fleet that sank a South Korean warship in 2010.
Friday May 5
8pm BST: The former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative defense program, Henry Cooper, claims North Korea and Iran could place an armed satellite in orbit.
“Both nations could deliver an EMP attack on the United States by simply detonating a nuclear weapon carried by one of their satellites as it passes over the United States,” Mr Cooper stated at a senate committee yesterday.
The communist state has already successfully launched a satellite in the past and an EMP weapon would not require any specific guidance technology.
EMP weapons target infrastructure by creating an energy surge that disables electronic devices.
“I believe we have had clear warning of the nature of this threat for years, and are collectively continuing to ignore and/or take ineffective countermeasures to deal with it,” Mr Cooper added.
“We are essentially defenseless against this plausible threat.”
5.15pm BST: The Pentagon is looking into potential connections between the North Korean hermit state and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
US defence officials fear the two counties have been sharing information on their rogue missiles for years.
An Iranian ballistic missile test in late January was supposedly based on North Korean designs, according to the Pentagon.
Last summer Iran has also launched a missile similar in design to Kim Jong-un’s Musudan missile, one of the country’s most successful weapons.
2.30pm BST: Kim Jong-un has been spotted inspecting rocket launchers on two islets just miles from South Korea.
New photographs show the despot leader peering menacingly through binoculars towards South Korea while flanked by soldiers.
The images, published in the nation’s state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, show Kim smiling as soldiers and their family members living at the Hero Defence Detachment on Mu Islet hail his arrival.
He is also seen inspecting a large missile launcher and talking to military personnel inside a gun shelter.
12.00pm BST: North Korea has claimed that the CIA are plotting to kill Kim Jong-un in a chemical attack.
The North Korean regime has threatened a “counter-terrorist attack” against US and South Korean forces in retaliation for the alleged attack.
According to reports, a “terrorist group” supported by the CIA crossed the border before trying to kill the dictator with “biochemical substances”.
North Korea’s state-controlled KCNA news agency said: “The heinous terrorist criminal group was discovered which infiltrated the DPRK after careful preparations.”
7.30am BST: Kim Jong-un demanded combat readiness as he inspected military detachments on Jangjae and Mu islets near North Korea’s border with South Korea.
The islets, located just miles from the South Korean island of Yeongpyeong, are known to be home to multiple rocket launchers and artillery pieces.
A statement from North Korea’s state-run KCNA said that Kim “acquainted and examined the plan for fire strike of the newly organised forces at the objects of the enemy”.
Meanwhile it has emerged that Donald Trump could brand North Korea state sponsors of terrorism within the next 90 days as part of a new bill placing harsh sanctions on the hermit nation.
The House of Representatives voted 419-1 to force the issue, which cwould also place heavy sanctions on North Korea’s shipping industry as well as those who employ North Korean slave labour abroad.
“Real threats demand real responses,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce said.
“This Bill gives the administration a powerful tool to cut off North Korea’s funding by going after those who do business with the regime.”
Thursday May 4
10pm BST: What’s Kim up to? Satellite imagery has revealed a series of NEW islands appearing off the North Korean coast.
The group of man-made islands, in the Yellow Sea, have appeared prompting fears Kim Jong-un is developing secret military bases.
9pm BST: Kim isn’t messing around. He has just promised North Korea will bring about “the fall of the American empire” – whatever that is exactly.
The ‘Supreme Leader’ also said he would reduce Japan to “ashes” and turn South Korea to a “sea of fire” if his wishes weren’t obeyed, in the latest round in an ever-tightening spiral of threat and counter-threat with Donald Trump.
8pm BST: North Korea has issued as stark warning to the US, promising to deliver “the fall of the American people”.
Kim Jong-un directly threatened America by saying he would force the country to “collapse” if it continued its operations in the region.
The communist regime leader further said he would reduce Japan to “ashes” and turn South Korea to “a see of fire”.
The chilling threats were made public in North Korea’s state run propaganda newspaper.
“The reckless nuclear war provocation by the Trump administration will bring it nothing but the fall of the American empire,” the paper said.
5.20pm BST: North Korean state media have warned today that China was stepping over a “red line” in its relations with the US.
The unprecedented criticism was voiced in a commentary in the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
It accused Beijing of “dancing to the tune of the US” and giving Washington excuses to deploy more troops to the region.
“We didn’t cross the ‘red line’ of the (North Korea)-China relationship,” the commentary said. “China is violently stomping on and crossing it without hesitation.”
3.00pm BST: Japan would be the first to suffer if it backed US military action against the hermit state, North Korean officials have warned.
State-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun reminded Tokyo of its previous experience involving nuclear weapons.
And the report stated the country would become the number one target for a North Korean strike as it housed US forces and would be “put under radioactive clouds before any country”.
The newspaper said on Wednesday: “In case of a nuclear war on the peninsula, Japan that houses logistic bases, launching bases and sortie bases of the US forces will be put under radioactive clouds before any country.
“If Japan is truly concerned about its interests, it has to make due efforts for the peaceful settlement of the Korean peninsula issue.
“As the first country in the world that suffered A-bomb disaster, Japan knows better than others how terrible the nuclear disaster is.”
Hyeon-seo Lee, the author of The Girl with Seven Names, said she was reduced to tears when she first heard the American President speak out against North Korea.
She told Fox News: “Not any president said those words until today – even though we’ve been suffering for seven decades.”
11.30am BST: North Korea has warned China of “grave consequences” to come if Beijing cuts relations with Pyonyang.
A statement was published in Kim’s mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency, which said: “The DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear program which is as precious as its own life, no matter how valuable the friendship is.
“China should no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK’s patience…..(and) had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations.”
The hard-hitting statement marks the first time that North Korea has openly threatened its neighbour in the same manner that it so regularly attacks the US, South Korea and other so-called enemies.
China is North Korea’s sole remaining diplomatic ally and trading partner, but relations have broken down in recent weeks after China banned all imports of North Korean coal following UN sanctions.
China has said that it still wants to be good neighbours with North Korea in the wake of the criticism.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said “China position on developing friendly, good-neighbourly relations with North Korea is also consistent and clear.”
Colorado senator Cory Gardner branded Kim a “maniac” and a “whack-job” as he lashed out at the President following remarks made earlier this week.
President Trump stunned the world after he said he would be “willing” and “honoured” to meet the ruthless despot amid simmering tensions around US Navy manoeuvres near the Korean peninsula and threats from of nuclear annihilation from Pyongyang.
But Mr Gardner took a harder line, telling a US television station: “I think most people agree that Kim Jong-un is a whack job.