Trump dodges on whether North Korea's Kim is mentally unstable

Syrian envoy slams US airfield attack

Pence arrived in Tokyo from South Korea, where he assured leaders of an "iron-clad" alliance with the United States in the face of the reclusive North, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

A reminder: President Trump has previously said he will "solve North Korea" in a Financial Times interview. China is appealing for calm, and possibly re-examining its role.

Predictably, the gesture prompted a fierce response from Pyongyang, which dubbed the supposed deployment of the strike group in the Sea of Japan as a "reckless act of aggression".

When it comes to North Korea and this weekend's holiday theatrics - military parades featuring Pyongyang's latest missiles and technological terrors, along with a failed missile test - there is only one thing that is clear: Tensions on the Korean peninsula are only going to get worse.

The United States said it had cut the words because they "would overly narrow the means by which the global community could arrive at a peaceful and comprehensive solution to the North Korean nuclear problem", the United States told council members, according to diplomats. Trump said on Twitter, recounting what he told Xi while hosting him this month at his Palm Beach, Florida, resort.

"I have great respect for the president of China", Trump said.

The official was adamant that the U.S. is now not anticipating pre-emptive military action against North Korea.

If such persuasion falls short, Trump has suggested he might use more coercive methods.

This is the first time the officials are meeting face-to-face.

"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. "Whether that works or not, it's a very different strategy from the last three presidents".

Syria's ambassador to North Korea denounced USA aggression and "history of interventions" on Monday and said sending a "message" to North Korea with an attack on a Syrian airfield was irresponsible.

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A sales manager for a Sinotruck dealer, Zhongnanhai, said the company exports about 1,000 trucks to North Korea every year under contracts that specify the vehicles are designed and manufactured for civilian use.

From two continents, Pence and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that North Korea's latest failed missile launch was a reckless act of provocation and assured allies in Asia that the US was ready to work to achieve a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"There will be no strike against North Korea", Gusev said, "Because the Democratic People's Republic of Korea possesses not only nuclear weapons but also delivery vehicles - missiles with a range of about five thousand kilometers".

It appears that Donald Trump's "armada", led by the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, had only been approaching North Korea figuratively.

USA strikes earlier this month against Syria, coupled with Trump's dispatching of what he called an "armada" of US warships to the Korean region, touched off fears that the United States was preparing for military action, though it was revealed this week that the flotilla was taking a roundabout path to Korean waters and has yet to arrive. Pyongyang has said it is ready for war.

"Because what is sense is to see whether the U.S.is really serious in finding solutions, whether in Syria or Korea".

Photos provided by the North Korean government showed the submarine-launched missiles being pulled by trucks bearing the logo of the Chinese company Sinotruk.

China, North Korea's only ally who President Trump is relying on to influence Pyongyang, has repeatedly called for calm amid increasing sabre-rattling on both sides.

In response, Pyongyang is promising it will continue to build up its "nuclear deterrent" and respond in kind to any hostile moves, perceived or real.

The program has been in development with Japan and is aimed at shooting down intermediate-range North Korean missiles that pose a threat to the U.S. ally. -South Korean military exercises now include training for precision strikes on the North's leadership or nuclear and military facilities.

In the most recent Pentagon report on weapons testing across the department, the long-range system was criticized. Both Japan and South Korea are home to tens of thousands of USA troops.

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