Pence says US stands by ally Japan on North Korea problem

China defends North Korea trade after its trucks haul missiles

Pence's Asia tour came amid increasing tensions and heated rhetoric on the Korean Peninsula.

"If the United States is reckless enough to use military means, it would mean from that very day an all-out war", Han said.

"North Korea is the most risky and urgent threat to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific", Pence said. On Thursday, the USA military said it had dropped "the mother of all bombs", the largest non-nuclear device it has ever unleashed in combat, on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State in Afghanistan.

North Korea's KCNA news agency on Monday carried a letter from leader Kim Jong Un to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad marking the 70th anniversary of Syria's independence.

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

"All options are on the table to achieve the objectives and ensure the stability of the people of this country", he told reporters as tinny propaganda music floated across from the North Korean side of the so-called demilitarized zone (DMZ).

"This is juxtaposed to the strategic patience policy that they characterize as entirely predictable but at the same time indecisive", he noted.

On April 14, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said conflict over North Korea could break out "at any moment" and warned there would be "no winner" in any war.

His economic discussions will be closely watched to see how hard a line Washington is prepared to take on trade.

After decades of failure to stop North Korea's march toward a nuclear arsenal, some see Trump's bluster as a shrewd attempt to press China, the North's most important ally and trading partner, into pressuring North Korea more aggressively over its nuclear program.

North Korea's test of a nuclear warhead did not take place last weekend amid mounting diplomatic and military pressure from the United States and possibly China.

Tillerson Says "Unchecked' Iran Could Follow North Korea's Path"
The US has ordered a review of the Iran nuclear deal, although it admits Iran is complying with its commitments. The state department is obliged to inform Congress every 90 days about Iran's compliance with the deal.

The United States, its allies and China are working on a range of responses to North Korea's latest failed ballistic missile test, Trump's national security adviser said on Sunday, citing what he called an global consensus to act.

"But at the same time", the prime minister said, "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".

The statement was made amid an escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula with the South Korea and United States military reporting April 16 that they had witnessed what they believe to be a failed missile test by Pyongyang which followed a number of missile launches and nuclear tests considered to be in violation with the UN Security Council resolution.

China says its powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security and spoke out against it again on Monday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said tensions need to be eased on the Korean Peninsula to bring the escalating dispute to a peaceful resolution.

Mattis struck an even tougher tone on North Korea in an interview with reporters travelling with him to Saudi Arabia. "The Kim Jong-un regime is afraid of me", the candidate said on his campaign trail in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

"Trump is posing a hard choice to Beijing - do something, something about North Korea and hope it generates some effects, or face American economic retaliation", said Dean Cheng, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Lim Eul Chul, a North Korea expert at South Korea's Kyungnam University, doesn't think Trump wants to attack North Korea but said he appears eager to send a message that war is possible.

China banned imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off its most important export and Chinese media has raised the possibility of restricting oil shipments to the North if it unleashed more provocations.

"There's a difference between missile and nuclear tests, which are really developing capability within Korea over the long term, and provocations like artillery shelling of the offshore islands, which they've done a couple of years ago, [or] the sinking of a [South Korean] destroyer", said Blair, referring to the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island and the sinking of the naval vessel Cheonan in 2010.

USA officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturizing a nuclear warhead.

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