Korea on alert ahead of North's army anniversary
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 22, 2017,
Apr 22, 2017, 19:26
North Korea conducted another banned missile test Sunday - although it reportedly failed nearly immediately after launch - the same day that North Korean state television broadcast an official concert celebrating the birthday of the country's founder Kim Il Sung, which featured graphics depicting a catastrophic missile strike on the U.S. The vice-president, Mike Pence, visited South Korea recently and declared an end to the "strategic patience" of the Obama administration.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence walks at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in South Korea, April 17, 2017.
The U.S.is trying to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The four most important words Pence has said on his Asia trip so far were in response to a key question: Will the U.S. talk to North Korea?
A USA aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, is heading toward the Korean Peninsula, Trump's administration has said.
Pence also said comments from the White House on the whereabouts of the USS Carl Vinson Navy Strike Group were not purposefully misleading.
To mark the 105th birthday of Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, North Korea's state television aired footage of a choral performance followed by a video showing numerous missiles targeting USA cities. A US Navy carrier headed for the Korean peninsula on Saturday while Kim Jong-un spent the day reviewing the country's military hardware on parade. "And those who challenge our resolve for our readiness should know we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response".
"The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready", Pence told 2,500 sailors dressed in blue fatigues and Naval baseball caps on a sunny, windy morning aboard the carrier at the U.S. Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday praised Chinese efforts to rein in "the menace of North Korea", after North Korean state media warned the US of a "super mighty pre-emptive strike".
Pence spoke of the U.S. commitment to article 5 of the U.S. -Japan Security Treaty, mentioning specifically U.S. defense of Japan's claim to the Senkaku Islands.
"An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it", said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Pyongyang's repeated missile tests suggest progress is being made to achieve the country's stated goal of developing a ballistic missile armed with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the United States.
Mr Trump, who has in the past tweeted saying North Korea was "behaving very badly" and "playing" with the U.S., warned that North Korea has "gotta behave" while speaking at the annual White House Easter egg roll over the weekend.
Pence also said the US would protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the sea lanes vital to global shipping where China has been staking claim to disputed territory.
South Korean presidential candidates clashed on Wednesday night in a debate over the planned deployment in South Korea of a US -supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which has angered China.
However, despite worries of North Korea's nuclear missile capabilities, Klinger said he believed the North Korea issue could be less serious than it seemed.
Kimmel then broadcast a clip of Mr Trump being asked about North Korea earlier in the day.