Pence visits Japan, turning focus to trade with key ally

On Monday, Mr Pence travelled to the tense Demilitarised Zone dividing North and South Korea, where he warned North Korea's leaders that after years of testing the US and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, "the era of strategic patience is over".

Pence, during an address in Seoul, said this is a "challenging time" for everyone. Kim also sharply criticized the United States and South Korea for staging "aggressive war exercises" on the Korean peninsula, which he said were the root causes of tension in the region.

"But the era of strategic patience is over", Pence declared.

Kim stressed that U.S.

White House officials said the economic meetings in Tokyo, with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other officials, will help forge a framework for a new U.S. -Japan economic dialogue launched by President Donald Trump and Abe during the Japanese leader's visit to the February.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States and it showed no let-up in its defiance after conducting a reportedly failed missile test on Sunday. Trump has recently said that Pyongyang is a problem that "will be taken care of".

'We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis, ' Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol said in an interview with the BBC.

"We should stay on our toes to protect our territory and people's lives", Hwang said.

The North has warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked.

"We would like to seek the best shape and forum for our bilateral relationship", Mr Pence said.

Despite fears of a showdown between the United States and North Korea, analysts by and large believe that, barring accidents, saber-rattling will yield to pragmatism.

It also came the day after North Korea's latest launch - which failed when the missile blew up seconds after blast-off.

A top White House foreign policy adviser on Sunday became the latest Trump official to warn that while diplomatic pressure was preferable, United States military action is very much on the table.

Trump, asked on Monday if he was considering military action, told Fox News Channel he didn't want to "telegraph" his plans like the previous administration.

"We need to apply pressure on North Korea so they seriously respond to a dialogue" with the worldwide community, he said, urging China and Russian Federation to play more constructive roles on the issue. deforested stretch of North Korea from a lookout post in the hillside. They also say greater Chinese cooperation is vital.

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".

Thornton said any new North Korean nuclear test "would draw a pretty significant global response".

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".

"I haven't changed my stance", he said. "Of course I think that any country will feel that political diplomatic means are of course the first choice", Wang said.

Pence's economic discussions in Tokyo will be closely watched to see how hard a line Washington is prepared to take on trade.

While Japan's trade surplus with the much smaller than China's, Trump has decried the imbalance, especially in auto exports.

Shortly after, in the wake of North Korea's missile test and the resultant growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, China banned imports of Chinese coal for the remainder of the year. One called for "dual-track" talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and replacing the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War with a formal peace treaty.

  • Elsie Buchanan