Pence warns NKorea 'era of strategic patience is over'

Posted April 18, 2017

Standing within 60 meters (200 feet) of the North Korean border, Pence described the DMZ as the "frontier of freedom" and added that "all options are on the table" in pursuing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

A North Korean missile exploded during launch on Sunday, U.S. and South Korean officials said.

The tense episode with North Korea comes after the USA took military action last week against the Syrian regime - a move the North condemned as unjustifiable - and dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on a Daesh target in Afghanistan.

A bruise is seen on the right hand of a North Korean soldier observing activities in the south of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating North Korea from South Korea, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul, September 25, 2013. In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Trump and his military team "are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch". In February 2012, the United States and North Korea announced an agreement in which the North would suspend operations of its Yongbyon uranium enrichment plant, allow worldwide inspectors to verify the suspension, and implement moratoriums on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

President Donald Trump has labeled North Korea a "problem" country and says it will be dealt with through a broad - and vague - set of options.

North Korea is already among the most heavily sanctioned nations, facing numerous strictures to limit its ability to conduct commerce, participate in worldwide finance and trade in weapons and other contraband. "President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out and we want to see change".

Trump told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during their summit in Florida earlier this month that the United States would "act alone" on the North if China fails to help ease the tensions as Pyongyang's main trade partner. "The North Koreans know they may fail, but they improve their capabilities each time".

The Trump administration is hoping that China will help rein in North Korea in exchange for other considerations.

Pyongyang's rogue atomic ambitions have come into sharp focus in recent weeks, with Trump vowing a tough stance against the North and threatening unilateral action if China failed to help curb its neighbour's nuclear programme.

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South Korea now is being run by an acting government, Mitchell pointed out, after the impeachment of South Korea President Park Geun-hye, who was removed from office in March by the country's Constitutional Court in a unanimous ruling over a corruption scandal.

Considering that Syria's lack of nuclear weapons may have been a factor in the USA decision to attack the air base, North Korea seems unlikely to respond to a US nuclear threat by giving up its own nuclear weapons.

Speaking Sunday, US national security adviser H. R. McMaster said that when it came to the North Korean nuclear program "all of our options are on the table, undergoing refinement and further development".

However, Sky News reports that the missile was launched from land, according to USA officials. Apparently sensing a worsening political environment, the US military sped up the deployment to try to get everything in place before the election.

Earlier this week, the US dispatched ships, including an aircraft carrier, to waters off the Korean Peninsula, drawing condemnation from Pyongyang that is already indignant about annual U.S.

His vice president, Mike Pence, is telling American and South Korea service members that the North's latest "provocation", a failed missile launch shortly before his arrival in Seoul, has laid bare the risks they face.

Washington and Seoul will try hard to figure out what exactly North Korea fired. He has repeatedly declared that if China, North Korea's dominant trading partner, isn't willing to do more to squeeze the North, the US might take the matter into its own hands.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two a year ago.

The Trump administration has not indicated publicly it is interested in reviving moribund diplomatic negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.