All options on table with N. Korea: Pence

Florent Macron

Florent Macron

Pointing to the quarter-century since the United States first confronted North Korea over its attempts to build nuclear weapons, the vice president said a period of patience had followed.

"The message of the people of the United States of America is that we seek peace, but America has always sought peace through strength and my message here today standing with U.S. forces Korea, standing with courageous soldiers from the Republic of Korea is a message of resolve".

Mr Trump ordered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and several warships to the area to highlight American concern at the situation, as China expressed fears war could erupt "at any moment", while Pyongyang warned it could launch a nuclear strike if it feels threatened. In his first public remarks, McMaster told ABC news that the US would rely on its allies and China to put an end to the North Korean issue.

"I think there's an global consensus now, including the Chinese leadership that this is a situation that just can't continue".

Without going into specifics to avoid telegraphing American plans, McMaster said that the administration will do what is necessary to prevent North Korea from putting American lives in danger.

United States officials told CNN they did not believe the missile had intercontinental capabilities, and blew up nearly immediately after launch.

Most options fall into four categories: economic sanctions, covert action, diplomatic negotiations and military force. He also said that Japan needs to step up its missile defenses to better deter North Korea.

McMaster's comments came the same weekend that North Korea paraded its military arsenal to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of its founder - and conducted a failed missile test.

What appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles were on display in the parade.

This comes as President Donald Trump suggested that China was helping the United States formulate a response to the North Korean menace, and that he was refraining from calling Beijing a currency manipulator in part because of that cooperation.

Speaking in Seoul, Pence linked recent U.S. military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan with the situation in Korea, saying they showed the "strength and resolve of our new president". "We will see what happens!" Mr Trump said on Twitter.

But Trump is also pushing China, the North's only real ally, to bring the rabid dog to heel.

McMaster replaced Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump's former national security adviser who resigned amid controversy in February after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. "We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable". He will aim to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the US will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression.

The White House said yesterday's test involved a medium-range ballistic missile that failed within four to five seconds after launch, and that it did not involve an intercontinental ballistic missile, said a U.S. foreign adviser travelling with Mr Pence, adding that the launch was not unexpected.

According to the White House adviser, the test had been expected and the USA had good intelligence both before and after the launch.

Beijing banned imports of North Korean coal on 26 February, cutting off Pyongyang's most important export.

Lu said that prior to the THAAD deployment, relations between Beijing and Seoul were strong and "China didn't cause the current problem in bilateral ties".

"While we do not want to telegraph in any way how we'll respond to certain incidents, it's clear that the President is determined not to allow this kind of capability to threaten the United States".

It was established by the 1953 armistice agreement which ended the Korean War, though both sides technically remain at conflict as no peace treaty has ever been signed.

If that test leads to a nuclear test or an ICBM launch, there would be "a powerful punishing measure that North Korean authority can't endure", South Korean officials said. "An abandonment of its nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile program".

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