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Sunday December 17th, 2017 3:16AM

The Latest: Trump to hold press conference in DC Monday

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the exchange of threats between the U.S. and North Korea (all times EDT):

6:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he's planning a press conference Monday in Washington— though it's unclear what he plans to discuss.

Trump has been out of Washington all week for an extended working vacation at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course. He's set to return to Washington for a brief visit Monday.

Trump tells reporters he has a "very important meeting" scheduled along with a "pretty big" press conference. But he's sharing no other details.

The White House is currently undergoing a significant renovation as crews work to replace the heating and air conditioning system and make other repairs.

___

6:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is going to speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) Friday about the deepening crisis with North Korea.

Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf club Friday that he will make the call. It will come after days of fiery rhetoric about the nuclear threat posed by the isolated nation.

Trump has alternately praised and chided China for the efforts to contain its rogue neighbor.

He has increased his condemnation of North Korea in recent days, tweeting Friday morning that the U.S. would have military options "locked and loaded" if needed.

__

6:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is warning of severe consequences if North Korea attacks Guam.

Trump says he has yet to speak with the governor of the territory, but says, "I feel that they will be very safe, believe me."

He adds, "if anything happens to Guam, there's going to be big, big trouble in North Korea."

North Korea this week announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory, which is a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.

Trump has been escalating his rhetoric against North Korea, but says he hopes "it will all work out."

___

12:45 p.m.

A Democratic congressman is urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to reconvene the House from its summer recess to consider legislation prohibiting a pre-emptive nuclear strike against North Korea.

Rep. David Cicilline (sihs-ihl-EE'-nee) of Rhode Island, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says that in light of President Donald Trump's "reckless words" threatening North Korea, the House should immediately take up legislation barring a pre-emptive nuclear strike without prior congressional authorization.

Cicilline said Trump "has made a dangerous situation even worse by recklessly asserting that the United States is 'locked and loaded' to bring 'fire and fury' to North Korea."

Cicilline said Trump's bellicose language against North Korea has raised alarms around the world, adding that "if the president will not defuse this situation, then Congress must."

___

11:20 a.m.

Japan has started deploying land-based Patriot interceptors after North Korea threatened to send ballistic missiles flying over western Japan and landing near Guam.

The Defense Ministry said Friday the PAC-3 surface-to-air interceptors are being deployed at four locations: Hiroshima, Kochi, Shimane and Ehime.

The deployment is largely aimed at responding to the risk of falling fragments while missiles fly over the region.

The four PAC-3 systems are brought from eastern Japan, as its missile defense is largely centered around Tokyo. They are expected to arrive in the designated sites early Saturday.

The ministry did not confirm whether Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has already issued an order to shoot down incoming missiles.

___

9:35 a.m.

Russia's foreign minister says the risk of a military conflict between the U.S. and North Korea is "very high."

Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Russia is strongly worried about escalating rhetoric coming from Pyongyang and Washington. He added that "when it comes close to fight, the one who is stronger and wiser should be the first to step back from the brink."

Asked how Moscow would act in case of a military conflict between the U.S. and the North, Lavrov answered it would do everything it could to prevent the worst-case scenario.

Lavrov said Russia doesn't accept the North's nuclear weapons bid and pointed at a proposal by China and Russia under which Pyongyang would freeze its nuclear and missile tests while the U.S. and South Korea would halt their military drills.

___

9:15 a.m.

Despite tensions and talk of war, life on the streets of the North Korean capital Pyongyang remains calm.

There are no air raid drills or cars in camouflage netting as was the case during previous crises. State-run media ensures that the population gets the North Korean side of the story, but doesn't convey any sense of international concern about the situation.

North Koreans have lived for decades with the state media message that war is imminent, the U.S. is to blame and their country is ready to defend itself.

At a park in central Pyongyang Friday evening, young people practiced volleyball and grandparents and parents watched children on climbing frames and swings.

___

9 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she doesn't see a military solution to rising tensions between the United States and North Korea and called for a de-escalation of the rhetoric.

Asked Friday about U.S. President Donald Trump's latest statements, Merkel declined to say whether Germany would stand with the U.S. in case of a military conflict with North Korea. She said, "I don't see a military solution and I don't think it's called for."

Merkel called on the U.N. Security Council to continue to address the issue. She says Germany would work to find diplomatic solutions with the countries involved, the U.S. and China in particular, but also South Korea.

She added: "I think escalating the rhetoric is the wrong answer."

Earlier this week, Trump said the U.S. would slam the North with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it provoked America again.

___

8 a.m.

President Donald Trump is warning of military action "should North Korea act unwisely."

Trump tweeted: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. If carried out, it would be its most provocative missile launch to date.

Trump said this week the U.S. would unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if it continued to threaten the U.S.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
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