John McCain warns of 'accidental war' with North Korea

Washington: An American lawmaker has said that news that North Korea is expected to go ahead with a missile launch signals "a catastrophe of enormous proportions" and warned that an accidental war could break out on the Korean peninsula.

In anticipation of a missile launch expected around April 10, South Korea's Navy has moved destroyers with interceptor missiles into position to counter any incoming fire, Japan reportedly has plans to do the same, reports CBS News.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., while speaking on "Face the Nation", said the ambiguous intentions of North Korea's new young leader Kim Jong-Un could trigger war.

The senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee said that more than once, wars have started by accident, adding that this is a very serious situation.

If a war did break out, McCain said there is no doubt that South Korea would win.

What happens next will depend largely on China, whose relationship with North Korea, a senior US official said.

McCain said China can cut off their economy if they want to. He further said that Chinese behaviour has been very disappointing.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright agreed that China holds the key that will either unlock a war or keep the regional tensions at bay.

Albright, who visited North Korea in 2000, said America's task at hand is to persuade China that "they don't need to be afraid of a de-nuclearised Korean peninsula".