Pence in Japan: 'All options are on the table' regarding North Korea
20 April, 2017, 08:28 | Author: Eloise Marshall
Speaking to Fox News television, Mr Trump said he was dealing with Xi "with great respect" and that China had already begun enforcing more strictly its own ban on coal imports from North Korea.
Pence repeated the phrase in South Korea, the first stop on his tour, and again during his speech aboard the Ronald Reagan. Trump said on Twitter, recounting what he told Xi while hosting him this month at his Palm Beach, Florida, resort.
But economic policy advisers traveling with Pence reportedly said the trip is also aimed at reassuring Washington's allies that the current administration wants to boost trade in the Asia Pacific region particularly after the USA withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
A senior North Korean official said in a recent interview with the BBC that North Korea would conduct missile tests "on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis", and any military action against it by the United States would prompt "all-out war".
Pence also said the USA would 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.
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"If the United States and China can set the tone, there will also be more opportunities for dialogue".
The Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper said recently that Trump is playing a "dangerous card" with his verbal threats, risking a miscalculation by Pyongyang and a war on the peninsula. And now that North Korea has declared its goal to be building missiles with nuclear warheads that could hit all US bases in Asia - and even California - the clock is running for the White House.
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"There has been heightened tension between the U.S., the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea".
"The threat is upon us", says outgoing deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland.
"Trump seems capable of doing anything, and he might choose to strike the North before it's technologically able to strike back", said Ray Kim, a 39-year-old Seoul resident.
The rhetoric from both Washington and Pyongyang has ratcheted up considerably over the past week, amid repeated declarations from senior US figures that "the era of strategic patience is over" regarding the North's nuclear ambitions, fuelling speculation that the new administration could be considering a pre-emptive military strike on North Korean military sites.
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.
The test firings and provocations by the North Korean regime have, not surprisingly, been accompanied by aggressive and threatening rhetoric from leader Kim Jong-un.
On both the North Korean and USA sides of the conflict, all talk of military action can likely be dismissed as bluster. Mr Trump blamed previous presidential administrations for creating the situation with North Korea.
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