Trump seems confused about who is in charge of North Korea

"And the question is, can we bring them to a point where they'll use it?" said Fran Townsend, CBS News senior national security analyst and former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

But it appears Xi's impromptu North Korea 101 class didn't go quite far enough.

North Korea skipped provocative acts on the founder's birthday, but there is still the possibility of a nuclear or missile test around the 85th anniversary of the KPA's founding which falls on April 25.

Standard policy - which calls for shooting down of a North Korean missile after launch if the trajectory is deemed to threaten South Korea, Japan or the United States - remains in place.

From the wind-swept deck of a massive aircraft carrier, Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the US military, promising it would make an "overwhelming and effective" response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons.

The U.S. military is considering a bolder response to ballistic missile tests by North Korea's socialist government - blasting them completely out of the sky, according to sources.

The Russian diplomat also took a hard line on the previous US administration's North Korea policies.

Kim is determined to deliver an ICBM capable of striking the United States mainland into the hands of North Korea.

Pence is on a 10-day Asia-Pacific tour that has been dominated by the North Korea issue.

Pence spoke in Tokyo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Japan Wedneaday.

One US official said the prospective shoot-down strategy would be aimed at occurring after a nuclear test, reports The Guardian.

Military officials believe shooting down North Korean test missiles would accomplish two things - hindering Pyongyang's ability to develop long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States, and sending a clear message that its saber-rattling will not be tolerated by President Donald Trump's administration.

This comes as Pyongyang attempts to develop an worldwide ballistic missile (ICBM) with a warhead attached capable of reaching the U.S., and also after Trump reportedly ordered a Navy strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson toward the Korean Peninsula, though there are reports of the vessels being spotted thousands of miles away in Indonesia.

Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation "under control" with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

But North Korea's deputy Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol said Pyongyang would continue to test missiles "on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis". "Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably".

The North casts the United States as the aggressor.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing on Monday that the Korean peninsula was "highly sensitive, complicated and high risk" and that all sides should "avoid taking provocative actions that pour oil on the fire".

After meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence held talks with Aso on a new U.S. -Japan "economic dialogue" to be led by the two.

On Sunday, Lt Gen HR McMaster, the United States top security adviser, said his country was working on a "range of options" with China, the first confirmation the two countries were co-operating to find a solution to the North Korean issue.

  • Zachary Reyes