Saturday, 23 February, 2019

US VP Pence warns North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

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Nellie Chapman | 20 April, 2017, 06:51

Speaking aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft-carrier at its home port of Yokosuka, Japan, Pence said the U.S. remained unwavering in the face of the threat posed by the North, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

"Ultimately the USA and China will probably have to work extremely closely together - along with South Korea - on this issue to make sure that the tensions don't spiral out of control", Lisa Collins, a fellow in the Korea Chair Program at the Center for Strategic International Studies, told an editorial writer. The U.S. had been considering military options against North Korea because of its nuclear program.

The DPRK's state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying, "We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defense to cope with the USA reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force". But officials have avoided tipping their hand as to how the administration will proceed, instead touting Trump's unpredictability as a deterrent for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to weigh carefully.

Pointing to the quarter-century since the United States first confronted North Korea over its attempts to build nuclear weapons, the vice president said a period of patience had followed.

The United States kicked off economic talks with Japan yesterday, with an eye on eventually brokering a bilateral trade pact despite the latter's preference for multilateral deals.

North Korea has repeatedly offered to scale back its nuclear program if the U.S. stops its annual military drills with South Korea.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is on board an American aircraft carrier stationed in Japan amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula.

Pence has repeated almost verbatim statements from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the US's strategic patience ending with North Korea, and other military threats by other administration officials.

"It's necessary to put pressure on North Korea so that it will accept dialogue in good faith", Mr Abe said.

The US Navy's Carl Vinson strike group - consisting of an aircraft carrier and other warships - is on its way to the Western Pacific, Pacific Command said on Tuesday, following an order from President Donald Trump last week. The decision to divert the strike group Carl Vinson to waters near the Korean peninsula was intended as a show of force, a US official told Reuters afterwards.

"Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan", Pence said.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated his country's commitment to guarantee the security of Japan in facing North Korea's threats.

Pence and Aso said they believed the dialogue could yield opportunities to create new jobs on both sides and to fortify the economic aspects of the alliance.