Foreign ministers from G8 nations have condemned in the "strongest possible terms" North Korea's aggressive rhetoric and development of nuclear missile programmes.

North Korea claimed today it had "powerful striking means" on standby for a missile launch.

In a communiqué approved following a meeting in London, the G-8 foreign ministers said that recent missile tests "seriously undermine" regional stability and threaten international security.

The ministers also said North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric will only isolate the country

They called on the government to engage in "credible" talks on abandoning all existing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

The ministers urged North Korea to refrain from "further provocative acts" and expressed concern about its plans to re-open its Yongbyon nuclear facility.

South Korea and the US have speculated that the North is preparing to test a medium-range missile during upcoming national celebrations.

The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, a non-military agency that deals with relations with South Korea, did not elaborate on its warning of a strike.

The statement is the latest in a series of threats seen outside North Korea as an effort to raise fears and pressure the South and the US into changing policy.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has continued to urge for calm and restraint on the Korean peninsula.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: "The present situation in the Korean peninsula is causing a lot of concerns in the global community.

"The global community expects North Korea to retain the peace and stability (in the region).

"All parties should consider the long-term consequences and the general picture, work towards the resumption of the six-party talks ... and seek the long-term security and stability of the peninsula and of Northeast Asia."