North Korea

Twenty-eight years ago, U.S. journalist Urban Lehner was riding in the back seat of a speeding Volvo 144 sedan. He was on assignment for The Wall Street Journal in North Korea. The road out of Pyongyang was empty.

"The 1973 Volvo screeches around tight curves, slaloming across all five lanes of the road," he wrote in an article dated Aug. 29, 1989. "In another country it would be a suicide ride, but in North Korea so few cars ply the highways that each can often have the road to itself."

The United States and South Korea launched a massive joint military air exercise on Monday amid increased tensions with North Korea over its nuclear program and recent ballistic missile tests.

The five-day Vigilant Ace exercise includes some 12,000 military personnel and 230 aircraft – including six F-22 and 18 F-35s, both with stealth capabilities. South Korean media said B-1 bombers would also participate in the exercise, but the Air Force declined to confirm that.

Updated at 3 a.m. ET on Wednesday

North Korean state media say the country has launched a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile called the Hwasong-15. The statement says the missile is North Korea's most powerful ever and can reach all of the United States.

Earlier the Pentagon's initial assessment said the missile was an ICBM, the third tested by North Korea.

President Trump delivered a warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un not to underestimate U.S. resolve in the face of Pyongyang's nuclear threats. Trump also challenged other nations — especially China — not to stand idly by while Kim pursues his aggressive nuclear program.

During his visit to Tokyo on Monday, President Trump highlighted a dark moment in Japan's history when he met with families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean agents. In the 1970s, North Korea abducted at least a dozen Japanese citizens and took them to Pyongyang to train North Korean spies in Japanese language and customs. One abductee was 13.

President Trump on Monday pledged to stand by Japan against the "menace" of North Korea and said he hoped the two nations could come to a "free, fair and reciprocal" trade relationship.

President Trump kicked off his Asia tour Sunday with a warning that the U.S. will use its military might, if necessary, to fend off hostile threats.

"No one — no dictator, no regime and no nation — should underestimate, ever, American resolve," Trump told U.S. and Japanese troops, assembled inside a flag-draped aircraft hangar at the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo. "We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom and our great American flag."

Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET

With news from the special counsel's probe into Russian interference in the presidential election still swirling in Washington, President Trump is leaving Friday on his longest foreign trip to date.

The Asian odyssey will take him to five countries and two international summits. Trade issues and North Korea's nuclear threat are likely to dominate the discussions. Here's a quick primer on what to watch for at each stop:

Japan

The WannaCry ransomware attack that crippled Britain's National Health Service and hit thousands of computers around the world in May was almost certainly carried out by North Korea, says U.K. Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace.

The British government is "as sure as possible" that Kim Jong Un's pariah state launched the attack, Wallace told BBC Radio 4.

North Korea's foreign minister says President Trump's tweets about the Korean nation amount to a declaration of war and that under international law, his country can legally shoot down U.S. military planes — even if they're not in North Korea's airspace.

Pages