Pence warns NKorea 'era of strategic patience is over'

Pence, headed to Japan, turns focus to trade with key ally

U.S. defence secretary Jim Mattis warned that North Korea's latest failed missile launch was a reckless act of provocation and assured allies in Asia that America was ready to work to achieve a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Pence's 10-day tour of Asia aims at emphasizing that U.S. President Donald Trump wants to boost U.S. trade in the region, despite scrapping the TPP.

"We have to avoid all military escalation", Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told LCP television.

After referencing Pence's trip, Earhardt asked Trump whether he has ruled out a military strike against North Korea. "It's a major danger".

Earlier in Seoul, Mr Pence said at an American Chamber of Commerce meeting that Washington will review and reform a five-year-old trade deal with South Korea to narrow its trade deficit.

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In an interview in Wisconsin, the USA president complained that his predecessors should have dealt with North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear arsenal, but said he was in the position now where he was "going to have to do something about it".

His remarks come after Pyongyang carried out a missile launch on Sunday that the United States said was a failure.

Trump's administration has appeared to guide USA policy toward a more hawkish stance against North Korea since it assumed office in January, at least partly in response to the socialist regime's continued military tests.

White House officials said the economic meetings in Tokyo, with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other officials, are meant to forge a framework for future discussions after the USA withdrew from a Pacific Rim trade pact. North Korea has been conducting several nuclear tests and missile launches in contravention of UNO resolutions.

The unannounced visit Monday at the start of his 10-day trip to Asia was 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.

The North has said such launches are an act of deterrence against a potential invasion by the US or South Korea.

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But Kim Jong Un, North Korea's current leader, only took power in 2011, during the Obama years.

The Trump administration is hoping that China will help rein in North Korea in exchange for other considerations. He has since praised China for trying to increase pressure on Pyongyang.

Previous U.S. administrations have considered shooting down North Korean test missiles - as the country has been at odds with Western nations for decades - but the option has never been utilized, due mostly to the potentially dire consequences of militarily escalating tensions with Pyongyang.

Speaking to reporters at his Bowling Green office Monday, Paul said China has tremendous leverage with Pyongyang given North Korea's economic woes.

At a joint news conference with Mr Aso, Mr Pence said: "At some point in future there may be a decision made between our nations to take what we have learnt in this dialogue and commence formal negotiations for a free trade agreement". But perhaps the greatest encouragement for the U.S. president is that many of his erstwhile critics within, including a section of liberals, have welcomed his new approach, which resembles a foreign policy direction they are familiar with and one he campaigned against. "Everybody has been outplayed, they've all been outplayed by this gentleman, and we'll see what happens". Trump tweeted last weekend.

The White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence told reporters that the type of missile that North Korea tried to fire on Sunday was medium-range, and that it exploded about 4 to 5 seconds after it was launched.

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Footage of what appeared to be a new intermediate-range ballistic missile being fired and the missile crossing the Pacific and hitting an unidentified city of the USA was shown on a giant screen at the performance hall, according to the state-run TV station.

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