Friday, 23 February, 2018

Pence warns North Korea 'era of strategic patience is over'

Nellie Chapman | 19 April, 2017, 07:16

Speaking alongside South Korea's acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday, Mr Pence said North Korea should not test US President Donald Trump.

A US aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force. "The TPP is a thing of the past for the United States of America".

Past administrations, though, have failed to stop, let alone slow down, North Korea's nuclear program and ballistic missile developments.

By keeping discussions focused squarely on North Korea and shared U.S. and Chinese interests in preventing war on the Korean peninsula, United States officials have also avoided getting dragged into making other concessions - like recognizing China's territorial claims to Taiwan - in order to win China's full support on North Korea.

"The US introduces into the Korean peninsula, the world's biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the peninsula and pushing the situation there to the brink of a war", Kim said.

"But as the president has made very clear, either China will deal with this problem or the United States and our allies will", he said.

Washington sees North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as a threat to world security and to its Asian allies, Japan and South Korea.

"What the President is signaling is that Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea is extremely important, and if we can't get good cooperation on this urgent security threat, it'll be more hard to cooperate with China on a host of other areas in our bilateral relationship", the official said.

He leveled sharp criticism at the US and South Korea for conducting the war games of unprecedented scope and scale and said they could entail dire consequences for peace in the region.

Pence reiterated that "all options are on the table" to deal with threat and said any use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang would be met with "an overwhelming and effective response". He said the American commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable".

Noting Trump's recent military actions in Syria and Afghanistan, Pence said, "North Korea would do well not to test his resolve", or the US armed forces in the region.

- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to Japan for talks expected to focus largely on trade with America's anchor ally in the region. -South Korean installation, which is just outside the 2.5-mile wide (4 kilometers) DMZ. It allowed the vice president to gaze at North Korean soldiers afar and stare directly across a border marked by razor wire.

After meeting with Abe, Pence held talks with Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso on a new U.S. -Japan "economic dialogue" to be led by the two. "But dialogue for the sake of having dialogue is meaningless". Trump and his advisers have pointed to Beijing's move to restrict coal imports from North Korea as a sign Beijing is listening, and the US says China has turned back some shipments in recent days.

USA battleships were moved into the waters near the Korean peninsula as a precaution.

So Pence struck a stern tone after arriving at a US naval base from South Korea.

In the meantime, North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador accused the United States of turning the Korean peninsula into "the world's biggest hotspot" and creating "a risky situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment".

Saturday's parade honouring North Korea's country's founder, Kim Il Sung, came amid heightened tensions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

McMaster cited Trump's recent decision to order missile strikes in Syria after a chemical attack blamed on the Assad government, as a sign that the president "is clearly comfortable making tough decisions".

"Every administration since Nixon has not fallen for this, and it's the kind of ploy that I used to see on sophomore papers on East Asia in college", said Green, the former Bush administration official, who added that the bartering could send shivers up the spines of USA allies.