Military considers shooting down North Korea missile tests

Vice President Mike Pence assured Japan to rein in N Korea's ambition.

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea was over.

White House officials say the meetings in Tokyo are meant to forge a framework for future discussions after the US withdrew from a Pacific Rim trade pact.

"The world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan", the US Vice President said.

JAPAN Pence puts Japan on notice that Washington wants results "in the near future" from talks it hopes will open markets to US goods, adding that the dialogue could lead to negotiations on a two-way trade deal.

North Korean state media last week warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression, but the White House said there was no evidence it possessed that capability.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves during a military parade in Pyongyang.

He has sent a navy strike group towards the Korean Peninsula, and the US and South Korea are moving ahead with the early deployment of a controversial missile defence system.

The standoff between the US and North Korea over the nuclear weapons programs has dragged on for decades.

Concluding a visit to South Korea, Pence told business leaders in Seoul the administration is taking a fresh look at trade agreements as part of its "America First" policy.

Tensions on the peninsula have ratcheted up in recent weeks amid saber-rattling from the U.S. and North Korea and analysts' warnings that North Korea is preparing for a sixth nuclear test. Trump administration officials in recent days have said the Obama administration's strategy of "strategic patience" is over.

Earlier a U.S. Navy carrier strike group was diverted to waters off the Korean peninsula, where tensions have been rising for weeks over missile test-launches and concerns another nuclear test - a sixth since 2006 - may be looming. Kim has threatened to rain "nuclear thunder" on the United States. "There is a lot of economic and political pressure points that I think China can utilize and we've been very encouraged by the direction in which they are going".

Kim called the news conference to "categorically reject" the U.S. decision to hold an open meeting of the Security Council on April 28 on North Korea's nuclear program which is scheduled to be chaired by USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

Trump held his first summit talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month with a focus on North Korea.

Thornton said any new North Korean nuclear test "would draw a pretty significant worldwide response".Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi repeated China's standard line that the crisis could only be resolved by diplomacy.

"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region".

Abe said Japan hoped for peaceful dialogue with Pyongyang, "but at the same time, dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless and it is necessary for us to exercise pressure North Korea so that it comes forward and engages in this serious dialogue". Beijing says the system threatens its own security by allowing the monitor flights and other activity in northeastern China.

  • Leroy Wright