Pence takes message of US resolve against North Korea to Japan

"But the era of strategic patience is over", Pence declared.

President Trump has signaled that he will not hesitate to take military action against enemies of the United States, as evidenced by his bombing of a Syrian airfield and an ISIS cave in Afghanistan last week.

On a 10-day Asia trip that will also take him to Indonesia and Australia, Mr Pence stressed that the U.S. hopes China will use its leverage to get its longtime ally North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. "Start a trade war with China while in the middle of him working on a bigger problem, frankly, with North Korea?" he said.

Pence also told the troops that Trump wants to resolve the standoff with North Korea "through peaceful means, through negotiations" if possible.

Kim stressed that U.S. -South Korean installation, which is just outside the 2.5-mile wide (4 kilometers) DMZ. "But he doesn't understand that the North Korean leaders are unpredictable and don't play by the rules", he said.

Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso, among others.

Pence arrived in Tokyo earlier in the day on the second leg of his Asian tour.

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Pence said on Monday the world had seen Trump's resolve in the past two weeks, with a USA missile attack on a Syrian airfield and the dropping of a powerful non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.

The United States stands on the brink of war with North Korea. "President Trump is playing a very unsafe game indeed".

"We're going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience", Pence said. He made clear that Beijing would cooperate in exerting pressure but not endorse solo actions like the US attack on Syria.

They also did not discuss during the lunch specific actions they might take if North Korea conducts another nuclear test, the official said, while adding that both sides agreed not to make public the contents of a small-group meeting that took place after their lunch.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the results of the policy review and requested anonymity. The deployment of the anti-missile system Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) by the US in South Korea is progressing fast.

The North's Foreign Ministry said the missile launches were part of a normal process of building up the country's defences and economy.

Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation "under control" with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

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Like South Korea, Japan already faces a direct threat from the secretive regime. "They've all been outplayed by this gentleman and we'll see what happens". Trump tweeted on Sunday.

Along with the deployment of the US aircraft carrier and other vessels into waters off the Korean Peninsula, thousands of USA and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry were deployed last month in their biggest joint military exercises.

"I hope there's going to be peace, but they've been talking with this gentleman (Kim Jong-un) for a long time".

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have soared in recent weeks as a series of North Korean missile tests have prompted ever-more severe warnings from Trump's administration.

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.

From two continents, Pence and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that North Korea's latest failed missile launch was a reckless act of provocation and assured allies in Asia that the US was ready to work to achieve a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Defense official confirmed that the test conducted was a failure.

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