US Vice President Warns N. Korea to "Behave"

US Vice President Mike Pence, center, visits the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border between North and South Korea on April 17, 2017.

From the wind-swept deck of a massive aircraft carrier, Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the US military, promising that it would make an "overwhelming and effective" response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons. "And the approach President Trump has taken is not engagement with North Korea but renewed and more vigorous engagement with North Korea's principle economic partner [China]".

Pence's broader message was directed not just at North Korea, but at any other "enemies of our freedom".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he doesn't expect the U.S.to hold direct negotiations with North Korea any time soon. "All of America is proud of you", the vice president said.

On Tuesday the United States and Japan kicked off talks aimed at achieving a new economic relationship - in line with Trump's vow to focus on bilateral trade deals rather than multilateral ones that he says have damaged the US.

After leaving Japan Wednesday, Pence's Asia-Pacific tour will continue with visits to Indonesia and Australia before returning to the United States.

In previous comments, Pence waned 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.

The DPRK has conducted multiple missile tests and two nuclear tests in the past 18 months, with the United States' recent deployment of an aircraft carrier unit to the region after holding large-scale "war games" near the peninsula also stoking concerns.

But addressing dozens of Japanese and U.S. 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.

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Although Mattis did not identify the type of missile, he said it was not of intercontinental range, meaning it could not reach United States territory.

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 is our belief that by bringing together the family of nations with diplomatic and economic pressure, we have a chance - we have a chance - to achieve our objective of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula", he 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.

He also said the USA will honor its alliance with Pacific Rim nations to protect freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea - most of which Beijing lays claim to, despite conflicting claims from other Asian nations.

Tensions between the two nations have been fraught throughout Trump's presidency of nearly three months.

The statements showed that disagreements with China remained even as the Trump administration sought help from Beijing in reining in North Korea, its neighbor and ally.

Approval ratings for Trump's performance, according to many recent polls, is at record lows for a new commander in chief, but Pence said he "couldn't be more proud" to be a part of the current administration.

It later emerged that the Navy strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, which was thought to be on its way was actually headed in the opposite direction.

He pointed to North Korea's violations of the 1994 Agreed Framework negotiated by the Clinton administration and the violations of the 2005 denuclearization agreement negotiated by the administration of George W. Bush.

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