Pence evades question on North Korea sabotage

The United States will not be negotiating directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un anytime soon, Vice President Mike Pence told CNN in an exclusive interview.

"Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and beat any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response", Pence said to loud applause, reiterating that all options are on the table in dealing with Pyongyang.

The U.S. agricultural industry initially expressed displeasure at the Trump administration's decision to pull the U.S. out of the TPP, as the industry had expected its exports to Japan would increase thanks to the lowering of import tariffs under the pact.

"Trump is determined to confront that threat by marshaling unprecedented cooperation of our allies in the region and China and the world".

Speaking inside the ship's ceremonial room, the vice president spoke to CNN after addressing about 2,500 troops on the ship's deck - something he said he's never done before.

The Vice President was speaking aboard the USS Ronald Reagan during a visit to Japan and claimed the U.S. would "protect the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea".

"GIs hurled fully armed MPs of the South Korean puppet army into perpetrating such unsafe provocations as aiming at" North Korea's side of the demilitarized zone, said the statement from the Korean Central News Agency, based in Pyongyang, the nation's capital.

Pyongyang has been a main focus of his visit and public speeches so far, during which he's stuck fast to the USA message that the "era of strategic patience is over".

"The days of broken promises and the days of running out the clock on agreements with the wider world are over", he said.

In the statement North Korea accused American troops of trying to provoke its border guards and warned the USA soldiers to stop, or they'd meet a "dog's death any time and any place".

The nuclear test is yet to happen, but Pyongyang tested a missile Sunday which ended in failure.

But addressing dozens of Japanese and USA business executives on a visit to Tokyo, Pence described his country as "grateful" for Japanese investment and stressed the vibrant business ties between the world's number one and number three economies. But his response went beyond offering a simple "no comment", as he made it very clear that the U.S. recognized that the launch failed, and failed nearly immediately.

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Pyongyang's repeated missile tests suggest progress is being made to achieve the country's stated goal of developing a ballistic missile armed with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the United States.

Pence issued the warning during a joint news conference Monday after his meeting with South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn amid growing tensions over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

"There's no question North Korea represents the most risky and most immediate threat in the Asia-Pacific and President Trump is determined to confront that threat by marshaling unprecedented cooperation with allies in the region and China and the world", Pence said.

Pence pointed to reports of China turning away coal exports from North Korea as an example of the new United States strategy bearing fruit.

Vice President Mike Pence Pence said the US would honor its alliance with Japan, China, and other global powers as they apply economic and political pressure on North Korea. The trip so far has been dominated by US and allies' concerns about North Korea's nuclear and missile development efforts.

The USS Nimitz will be joining the Ronald Reagan near the Korean peninsula, in yet another display of Washington's commitment to maintain peace and security in the region.

The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement Wednesday that the USS Carl Vinson strike group is heading to the western Pacific "as a prudent measure". Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said tensions need to be eased on the Korean Peninsula to bring the escalating dispute to a peaceful resolution.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken a much tougher line on North Korea.

"The point the President was making is that we're ready".

"Short of launching a shock and awe campaign which would be overwhelming in its breadth and scale there's not a lot else the United States and its allies can do other than tighten the constrictor grip on the North", said Alex Neill, a senior fellow at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Pence has used the first stops on his 10-day visit to Asia Pacific to stress the Trump administration's strong commitment to United States allies in the face of hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang.

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