Vice President visits border between North & South Korea

Pence made an unannounced visit to the Demilitarized Zone at the start of his 10-day trip to Asia in a US show of force that allowed the vice president to gaze at North Korean soldiers from afar and stare directly across a border marked by razor wire.

Later Monday, Pence said in a joint statement alongside South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn that the United States' commitment to its ally is "iron-clad and immutable".

Pointing to the quarter-century since the United States first confronted North Korea over its attempts to build nuclear weapons, the vice-president said a period of patience had followed. He suggested plans to deploy a USA missile defense system in South Korea were damaging its relations with China.

Then, less than a week later, the US military dropped a 22,000-pound bomb - the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States - on Islamic State forces in eastern Afghanistan.

A White House foreign policy adviser told reporters aboard Air Force Two that the type of missile that North Korea tried to fire on Sunday was medium-range, and that it exploded about 4 to 5 seconds after it was launched.

But any potential strikes against the North would likely bring the United States into a diplomatic crisis with China, which is the North main economic lifeline.

Hours after North Korea paraded its weaponry and attempted a missile launch, Trump's national security adviser said the president will not allow Kim Jong Un's regime to threaten the U.S.

Vice President Mike Pence says the US commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable" in the face of North Korea's work to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile program. He said the US and its allies would deal with the situation "through peaceable means or ultimately by whatever means are necessary".

Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its weapons development. Pence reiterated that "all options are on the table" to deal with threat and said that any use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang would be met with "an overwhelming and effective response".

The fear of devastation in Seoul - and the risk to the American troops based in and around the South Korean capital - has long restrained USA administrations from striking North Korea.

The Treasury report recognized what many analysts have said over the past year, namely that China has recently intervened in foreign exchange markets to prop up the value of its yuan currency, not push it lower to make Chinese exports cheaper.

The front-runner to replace Park in a snap presidential election to be held May 9, progressive Moon Jae-in, has promised to review the previous government's decision to host THAAD.

Kim stressed that U.S.

"We hope to achieve this objective (the North's denuclearisation) through peaceful means but all options are on the table", Pence told a press conference in the South Korean capital after his trip to the tense border with the North.

He described the relationship as one of "totally seamless cooperation". "If the USA thinks this kind of thing will startle us, then they have misjudged us". It has imposed a painful economic boycott on South Korean exports and is making life hard for South Korean companies in China. "That's just something he believes has not served us well in the past", Spicer said. He will also aim to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the USA will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression.

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have soared in recent weeks, as a series of North Korean missile tests have prompted ever-more bellicose warnings from Trump's administration.

"And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't".

"While issues like (THAAD) remain, the president and I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea but as President Trump made clear just a few short days ago, if China is unable to deal with North Korea, the United States and our allies will", the vice president said.

  • Leroy Wright