Russia warns US against unilateral strike on N.Korea

But Pence and Hwang said they were troubled by retaliatory moves by China against the deployment in South Korea of a US anti-missile system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). "We've seen China begin to take some actions to bring pressure on North Korea but there needs to be more", Pence said.

He told reporters that President Trump was hopeful China would use its "extraordinary levers" to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its weapons programme, a day after North Korea attempted another missile launch.

Earlier this month, on Trump's command, the USA military launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield in retaliation for a chemical attack killing scores of civilians.

Pence arrived in South Korea just hours after North Korea launched its latest ballistic missile - which exploded within a few seconds - and amid a weekend of fanfare in North Korea, during which the regime showed off what appeared to be new missiles created to reach the United States.

"North Korea is a liability to everybody and it's a threat not just to the United States, not just to South Korea, not just to Japan, not just to Russian Federation, but it's actually a threat to China as well", McFarland said Sunday on "Fox News Sunday".

He earlier travelled to the Demilitarised Zone dividing the two Koreas, which technically remain at war after the 1950-53 Korean war ended in a truce and not a peace treaty.

As Mr Pence and his wife, Karen, and daughters Charlotte and Audrey, visited an observation post, propaganda music floated across from the North Korean side.

Major Chinese travel agencies also told AFP they have stopped offering tours to North Korea due to lack of interest.

But the vice president also said "the USA and our allies will" deal with North Korea if China can not do more to pressure Pyongyang, according to Yonhap.

But the U.S. is also working with China, North Korea's main ally, to pressure the regime to stop nuclear and missile tests.

The high-profile failure came as a powerful US aircraft supercarrier approached the Korean Peninsula and as thousands of USA and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry were deployed in their biggest-ever joint military exercises.

The high-profile failure came as the North tried to showcase its nuclear and missile capabilities around the birth anniversary of the North's late founder and as a US aircraft carrier neared the Korean Peninsula.

Vice President Mike Pence took a tough line on North Korea Monday, warning the rogue state not to test the "strength of [U.S.] armed forces", by continuing to build out its nuclear program.

Instead the countries agreed to "speed up" the THAAD deployment, to "be able to respond to the North Korean treat", according to Hwang. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump expressed hope that the conflict would be resolved without military action.

McMaster said various U.S. military and intelligence agencies are working on providing options to "have them ready" for Trump "if this pattern of destabilizing behavior continues".

Choe Ryong Hae, widely regarded as the secretive state's number two leading official, accused Mr Trump of "creating a war situation" by sending American forces to the region.

The vice president reaffirmed the "ironclad and immutable" alliance between the United States and South Korea.

"You don't want there to be death and destruction and turmoil around the world, but again, you have to have massive backbone when it comes to dealing with terrible, very bad dictators who don't like us, don't like our way of life, don't like us as a civilization".

The election is expected to see South Korea swing to the left and away from the conservative policies of Park's party.

It's unclear whether restarting negotiations might actually lead to the elimination of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Pence will leave for Japan on Tuesday.

The as-yet unidentified missile exploded on launch from a base in Sinpo, a city on the country's east coast, said the US.

The missile launch took place in Sinpo, a port city near eastern North Korea, CNN reported.

  • Leroy Wright