“Should Australia continue to follow the USA in imposing military, economic and diplomatic pressure upon the DPRK despite our repeated warnings, they will not be able to avoid a disaster”, state news agency KCNA warned.

North Korea’s latest round of warnings against Australia came in the wake of foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop and defence minister Marise Payne’s visit last week to the demilitarized zone which sits between South and North Korea.

The number of North Koreans fleeing the isolated country to South Korea dropped nearly 15 per cent in the first nine months of 2017, according to figures released on Sunday. “The use of military force will have devastating consequences, I think nobody really wants that, therefore we need to continue to push for a negotiated solution”, Stoltenberg said in an interview at Nato HQ in Brussels.

The speaker of the Russian upper house says she is seeking to discuss North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs with parliamentary delegations from both Seoul and Pyongyang. In his first-ever address to the United Nations General Assembly, US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend the United States or its allies.

Meanwhile, in a new incendiary statement, Pyongyang promised to fire “a salvo of missiles” at the US territory of Guam, and keep its hands “closer to trigger” amid major US-South Korea drills involving B-1 bombers and a carrier strike group, RT reported.

The nuclear-powered USS Michigin submarine arrived at the southern South Korean port of Busan. Next week, the Ohio-class submarine will be joined by Burke-class guided missile destroyers, USS “Stethem” and USS “Mustin Arleigh”. Trump met his national security team on Tuesday and discussed a “range of options” to respond to Pyongyang’s repeated recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

In total, 881 North Koreans defected to South Korea, down from 1,036 in the same period past year, a fall of 14.9 per cent, Yonhap News Agency reported citing statistics from the Unification Ministry. The initiative has been rejected by Washington.