Japan PM strongly urges N. Korea to refrain from further provocative actions
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 17, 2017,
Apr 17, 2017, 17:06
Pence is on the first stop of a four-nation Asia tour meant to show America's allies, and remind its adversaries, that the administration of President Donald Trump was not turning its back on the increasingly volatile region.
North Korea has spent decades trying to develop operational nuclear weapons.
Tensions tended to escalate on the peninsula this spring when combined forces of the United States and South Korea staged their joint war games, codenamed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle that were scheduled to continue till the end of this month.
The U.S. Navy this month struck a Syrian airfield with 59 Tomahawk missiles after a chemical weapons attack.
Pence's first trip to South Korea will carry personal meaning as well. Pence visited a military base near the Demilitarized Zone, a.
He says there was a "period of patience" over the years but "the era of strategic patience is over".
His national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said the US would rely on its allies as well as Chinese leadership to resolve the issues with North Korea.
"But the United States is troubled by China's economic retaliation against South Korea for taking appropriate steps to defend itself", he said, referring to the US THAAD missile defence system. China says its powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security.
HR McMaster indicated that Trump was not considering military action for now, even as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier strike group was heading for the region.
Pence tells reporters near the DMZ that the alliance between South Korea and the U.S.is "ironclad" and is reiterating that "all options are on the table" to pressure North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons and missile program.
After a two-month policy review, officials settled on a policy dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement", USA officials said Friday.
Military vehicles carrying missiles are paraded during the "Day of the Sun" festival on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Saturday, the day before North Korea is believed to have launched a failed missile. Pence said he and Trump "have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea".
Chief among the devastating arsenal on show during the parade was a KN-08 rocket, thought to be capable of flying more than 7,000miles - within range of Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC.
He said: " This latest missile test just fits into a pattern of provocative, destabilising, and threatening behaviour on the part of the North Korean regime.
The Trump administration is hoping that China will help rein in North Korea in exchange for other considerations.
This trip is coming nearly exactly 64 years to the day since Pence's father was awarded that medal - a remarkable fact, especially as the war remains unresolved.
Pence landed in South Korea at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia and was quickly confronted with the stakes facing the United States as Pyongyang seeks to flex its muscles around the birth anniversary of the country's late founder and advance the regime's nuclear and missile capabilities.
"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?" China is North Korea's only major ally. The briefer noted that China had already turned back ships bearing coal from the North. "We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable".
The extended-range Scud missile in that earlier launch suffered an in-flight failure and fell into the sea off North Korea's east coast, according to US imagery and assessments.
The U.S. said a ballistic missile exploded within seconds of the launch.