Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Mike Pence: US won't rest until N. Korea gives up nuclear weapons

Mike Pence: US won't rest until N. Korea gives up nuclear weapons

North Korea's deputy United Nations ambassador has accused the United States of turning the Korean Peninsula into "the world's biggest hotspot" and creating "a unsafe situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment".

Pointing to Mr Trump's recent military actions in Syria and Afghanistan, Mr Pence said North Korea "would do well not to test his resolve".

I was struck this morning by the risky combination of our own erratic president and the erratic ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong Un.

Pence made an unannounced visit to the Demilitarized Zone Monday at the start of his 10-day trip to Asia in a USA show of force that allowed the vice-president to gaze at North Korean soldiers from afar and stare directly across a border marked by razor wire.

North Korea's representative to the United Nations, Kim In-ryong, condemned the USA missile attacks on Syria, saying that it was "disturbing global peace and stability and insisting on gangster-like logic".

The vice president said the US would honor its alliance with Pacific Rim nations and protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the sea lanes vital to global shipping where China has been staking claim to disputed territory.

But last week, he changed his tune, telling the Wall Street Journal that China is not now manipulating its currency and saying he was working with President Xi Jinping on keeping North Korea in check.

China made a plea for a return to negotiations.

Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its weapons development. "But dialogue for the sake of having dialogue is meaningless".

Pence, on a 10-day Asia trip that will also take him to Indonesia and Australia, said Trump hopes China will use its leverage to get its longtime ally North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missiles.

"I didn't soften my stance", Trump said.

Pence and Abe agreed that they needed to persuade China to play a larger role in dealing with North Korea, a Japanese government spokesman said. He said the American commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable".

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a fresh appeal for calm.

A soldier films North Korean soldiers, officers and high ranking officials attending a military parade at the weekend.

"We should stay on our toes to protect our territory and people's lives", Hwang said.

Pence also told gathered servicemembers from both US and Japanese forces that Tokyo will "assume a larger role and responsibility" within its security alliance with Washington.

This missile launch comes at a bad time as tension on the Korean Peninsula has consistently been rising. "If the U.S. tries a cruise missile strike like what is done in Syria, then the North has the very serious capability of going to war against South Korea and targeting United States bases", Osgood noted.

And when asked what he plans next, President Trump said, "Wait and see". "I think the action that he took in Syria shows that when appropriate, this president will take decisive action".

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