North Korea sends protest to US Congress over sanctions

The accusations come amid high tensions between the USA and North Korea, which in recent months ramped up missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

Calling the DPRK "an increasingly grave national security threat" to the United States, Coats said the DPRK had taken "initial steps" toward fielding a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile.

The intelligence community will continue to dedicate resources to the problem, he said.

"I don't see anything that should make us feel any better about this threat", Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo said during a U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing.

South Korea's first liberal leader in a decade, Moon also said he'll "sincerely negotiate" with the United States, Seoul's top ally, and China, South Korea's top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of an advanced USA missile-defense system in southern South Korea.

After celebrating his victory with thousands of supporters in wet Seoul streets, he began the job of leading a nation deeply split over its future and faced with growing threats from North Korea and an uneasy alliance with the United States.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have increased recently, with Pyongyang threatening more nuclear and missile tests, which would embarrass Beijing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said he "always attaches great importance to the relationship between China and South Korea", and that he was "willing to diligently work with" Moon to ensure both countries benefit, Xinhua reported.

But while North Korea may welcome a controlled boost in economic ties and maybe a bilateral summit in its capital, its primary concern is always national security, or more precisely the assurance of regime survival.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and the two Koreas are divided by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), one of the most heavily fortified places on Earth.

North Korea says it will seek the extradition of anyone involved in an alleged plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un.

"One thing that's interesting about Trump is that he's getting briefed up about North Korea".

Harwit said that a possible solution could be reached if all parties, particularly the U.S., used quiet diplomacy to engage with Pyongyang leaders and incline them towards a peaceful solution.

In April, a Russian cybersecurity firm had claimed North Korea was linked to cyberattacks on financial institutions in 18 countries.

The isolated, impoverished North is accused of widespread rights abuses and dreams of a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the United States.

North Korea has in the past year stepped up its ballistic missile tests, firing dozens of various types of rockets, according to South Korea.