N.Korea fails in new missile test, Seoul says

Osan Air Base is just 48 miles from the border with North Korea, and its air operations center tracks airspace over all of South Korea.

Blue huts straddle the border, where tense negotiations have been held between the North, South and the United States since armistice.

Echoing the remarks of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on North Korea last month, Pence said the "era of strategic patience is over".

During a press conference with South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, Pence also reassured South Korea that Washington's security commitment to its Asian ally is "ironclad and immutable".

"All options are on the table to achieve the objectives and ensure the stability of the people of this country", he told reporters as tinny propaganda music floated across from the North Korean side of the so-called demilitarised zone (DMZ).

Viewing his adversaries in the distance, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the tense zone dividing North and South Korea and warned Pyongyang that after years of testing the U.S. and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, "the era of strategic patience is over".

Vice President Mike Pence will begin his highly-anticipated trip to Asia Saturday as tension continues to build on the Korean peninsula, with North Korea vowing to continue its provocative campaign to test and advance its nuclear program.

Lu said Beijing wants to resume the multi-party negotiations that ended in stalemate in 2009 and suggested that USA plans to deploy a missile defense system in South Korea were damaging its relations with China.

"The United States is troubled by China's economic retaliation against South Korea for taking appropriate steps to defend itself", Pence said.

Warning against additional North Korean provocations, the No. 2 man in the Trump administration said that "we will be with you (South Korea) 100 percent" whatever happens in the presidential election here slated for May 9. China says its powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security.

As tensions worsened between Washington and Pyongyang in recent days, Trump ordered a strike group headed by the USS Carl Vinson supercarrier to the Korean peninsula in a show of force against Kim.

"It's time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully", he said on ABC's This Week programme.

"And so we're going to rely on our allies like we also do, but we're also going to have to rely on Chinese leadership".

Pence told the military members that he had spoken twice with President Donald Trump during the day. Pyongyang, meanwhile, recently launched a ballistic missile and some experts say it could conduct another nuclear test at virtually anytime.

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 USA aircraft carrier neared the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea watchers remained on high alert, as leader Kim Jong-un was reportedly poised to conduct a sixth nuclear test.

Trump, who has proved to be unpredictable on foreign policy, has responded to the recent concerns over North Korea with a swagger that suggests a new, tougher stance.

The Trump administration has touted some successes on that front in the past week, including the suspension of coal shipments from North Korea to China.

In previous events, North Korea has paraded Scuds and Nodongs (short-to-medium-range, liquid-fueled missiles), which make up the backbone of its ballistic-missile fleet. It has repeatedly called for talks while appearing increasingly frustrated with the North.

While expressing displeasure over Beijing's economic retaliation against Seoul over the ongoing installation of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery on the peninsula, Pence urged China to address the North Korean threat, which he said is making the deployment necessary.

"We stand alongside our worldwide partners in making clear that North Korea must adhere to United Nations resolutions created to secure peace and stability in the region and stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons".

Ahead of Pence's arrival, North Korea's vice foreign minister told The Associated Press in an interview that Trump was the culprit of escalating tensions through his tweets and expansion of military exercises, arguing that the USA was becoming "more vicious and more aggressive" under Trump compared to his predecessor.

  • Leroy Wright