Friday, 15 December, 2017

Pence aims to reassure allies amid North Korea threat

Pedestrians walk past an electronic board showing the graphs of the recent fluctuations of the Japanese yen's exchange rate against the U.S. dollar outside a brokerage in Tokyo Pence to open Asian trip amid tensions with North Korea
Garry Little | 17 April, 2017, 00:59

North Korea denounced the United States on Friday for bringing "huge nuclear strategic assets" to the Korean peninsula as a USA aircraft carrier group headed for the region amid concerns the North may conduct a sixth nuclear test. After arriving in the South Korean capital, he placed a wreath at Seoul National Cemetery and then worshipped with military personnel at an Easter church service at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan.

Attendees at a Feb 23 NSC meeting forecast a crisis on the Korean peninsula could prompt large numbers of refugees turning up in boats along the coast of the Sea of Japan, Kyodo said. He has repeatedly said if China, North Korea's dominant trading partner, is unwilling to do more to pressure the North, the US might take the matter into its own hands.

The U.S. last week acted unilaterally in ordering a cruise missile strike on Syria and has sent what Trump called an "armada" to the waters off the Korean Peninsula.

Pence is also likely to explain to Hwang the Trump administration's North Korea policy.

North Korea actively flaunting its confrontational stance toward the USA administration led by President Donald Trump without reason is a problem. "The problem will be taken care of". He will also aim to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the US will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression. He was expected to join USA and South Korean troops for Easter Sunday church services and a dinner later in the day. That led North Korea to issue routine threats of attacks on its rivals if they show signs of aggression. The regime's last missile launch came less than two weeks ago on April 5th, and that was a medium-range KN-15 ballistic missile.

The North regularly launches short-range missiles, but is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target US troops in Asia and, eventually, the USA mainland.

A White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence said no USA response to the missile launch was expected because there was no need for the U.S.to reinforce the failure.

The official said that had it been a nuclear test, "other actions would have been taken by the U.S".

China has spoken out against North Korea's missile and nuclear tests and has supported United Nations sanctions.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two past year.

The Trump administration has said that the U.S.is keeping a military option in the region on the table, but is leaning toward a diplomatic and economic solution to the rising tensions with North Korea.

There was a high degree of confidence it was not an intercontinental ballistic missile, a US official said on condition of anonymity.

USA officials were quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying that the Trump administration was focusing more on raising pressure on North Korea with the help of China rather than using military force.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the results of the policy review and requested anonymity. Pence, on his first official visit to Asia as vice president, will visit South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia before stopping in Hawaii on the return leg of his 10-day trip.

Any U.S. military strike risks leading to a war between the world's biggest economies that would threaten to devastate South Korea and Japan, two American allies in striking range of retaliatory attacks.

Pence is the son of a Korean War veteran and displays his late father's Bronze Star in his office.

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