Pence lands in South Korea after North's failed launch

Posted April 18, 2017

However, U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Friday that the Trump administration has settled on a policy that will emphasize on increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China, North Korea's only major ally, instead of military options or trying to overthrow Kim's leadership.

However, John Bolton, America's former ambassador to the United Nations, said piling on pressure wouldn't work and that the U.S. needed China's help to try and bring North and South Korea back together.

The U.S. had good intelligence both before and after the launch, said a White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived in Seoul in the afternoon to start a 10-day trip to Asia.

While the reclusive communist state did not carry out a ballistic missile or nuclear test yesterday as widely speculated to mark the 105th birth anniversary of its founder Kim Il Sung, uncertainties still remain due to the unpredictable nature of both the North Korean and USA leaders, they said.

In a test launch in August past year, the missile flew 500km and crashed into waters near Japan.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket and conducted two nuclear tests past year, including its most powerful to date, and there have been a slew of shorter range missile firings.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Trump and his military team "are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch".

Choe vowed that North Korea will "beat down enemies with the power of nuclear justice".

Choe Ryong Hae said President Donald Trump was guilty of "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching US forces to the region.

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Pictures on North Korean state television showed thousands of soldiers marching in formation alongside tanks, balloons and enormous crowds.

The North regularly launches short-range missiles, but is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target US troops in Asia and, eventually, the USA mainland.

"The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed", the South's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement reported by Reuters. He criticized the new US government under President Donald Trump for "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching strategic military assets to the region.

"We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack", said Choe, widely seen by analysts as North Korea's No. 2 official.

The North also a year ago launched a long-range rocket that put a satellite into orbit, which Washington, Seoul and others saw as a banned test of missile technology.

Another missile test from Sinpo failed earlier this month, when the rocket spun out of control and plunged into the ocean. South Korea has a spotty record of tracking developments in North Korea, as information about the secretive, authoritarian state is often impossible to confirm.

The extended-range Scud missile in that earlier launch suffered an in-flight failure and fell into the sea off North Korea's east coast, according to US imagery and assessments.

Washington sees North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as a threat to world security and to its Asian allies, Japan and South Korea.