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Pence says US stands by ally Japan on North Korea problem

20 April 2017

Pence first joined a working lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before meeting Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso for economic talks that the vice president said he hoped would yield a framework for further dialogue.

North Korea's deputy United Nations ambassador, Kim In-ryong, described US-South Korean military exercises as the largest ever "aggressive war drill" and said his country was "ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US".

US Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Tokyo today bringing a renewed commitment to Japan's security amid a growing threat from a nuclear armed North Korea.

However, Trump has also shown willingness to link trade to other issues, saying he would cut a better trade deal with China if it exerts influence on North Korea.

He also said that if the USA made a decision to react militarily, there would be "all out war".

US Vice-President Mike Pence warned North Korea on Monday not to test Donald Trump's resolve, declaring that "all options are on the table" in curbing its missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi repeated China's line that the crisis could only be resolved by diplomacy.

The Trump administration has said military action remains an option for dealing with North Korea.

Jason Strother told Larry Williams most South Koreans don't expect the North to lash out, but many are concerned the USA may strike first.

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Claiming the United States had created a "a unsafe situation", a North Korea official said "a thermonuclear war may break out at any minute".

In a CBS interview on Friday (14 April), Song-Ryol said that North Korea would use a nuclear weapon against the United States.

Behind the heated rhetoric, in fact, Trump's strategy in the region looks somewhat similar to predecessor Barack Obama's - albeit with the added unpredictability of a new president who has shown he's willing to use force. "But the US is troubled by China's economic retaliation against South Korea for taking appropriate steps to defend itself", he said, referring to the US THAAD missile defence system.

The travels and travails of China's veteran point man on North Korea underscore China's growing frustration in its efforts to broker a negotiated solution to rising tensions between North Korea and the United States. Trump campaigned on an "America first" platform, and has vowed to narrow big trade deficits with nations such as China and Japan.

"Obviously, the first high-level talk is not going to have an immediate resolution of anything but I think we have a reasonable path forward", Ross said.

The recent surge in tensions on the Korean Peninsula finds Beijing on the outs with both North and South Korea, while many critics have yet to be convinced by its insistence that its influence with Pyongyang has been exaggerated.

As talks began Tuesday, Aso said the U.S. -Japan alliance has underpinned peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and that trade friction with the U.S. has given way to an "age of cooperation".

Trump on Monday said his message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was: "Got to behave".

"The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly complicated and sensitive", said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang. Pence stood a few metres from the military demarcation line outside Freedom House, gazing at the North Korean soldiers across the border, and then peered at a deforested stretch of North Korea from a lookout post in the hillside.

Pence says US stands by ally Japan on North Korea problem