Pence: 'Era of patience' with North Korea is over

Vice President Mike Pence declared an end to what he called a policy of "strategic patience" on North Korea during a surprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on his trip to South Korea.

"But the era of strategic patience is over", Pence said. But we're going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea.

Pence said on April 17 during his visit to the Panmunjom truce village that Washington wants to proceed "through peaceable means, through negotiations".

Asked why he thought a shift in Chinese policy would only have a limited impact, he continued: "It's going to take a deal between the United States and North Korea to bring the missile tests to a standstill".

Lavrov also said North Korea's adventurous missile launches are unacceptable as they are a violation of the UN Security Council's resolutions.

"The THAAD deployment by the USA in the ROK [South Korea] severely disrupts regional strategic balance, undermines the strategic security interests of regional countries including China, and does no good to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula", the Chinese Foreign Ministry said back in January. Abe also urged China and Russian Federation to play more constructive roles on the issue.

It ultimately failed after Pyongyang violated it by continuing its nuclear buildup.

The regime followed that - according to US and South Korean officials - with an attempted missile test Sunday from the eastern port of Sinpo.

Asked about that, Pence paused for several seconds before answering.

"It's clear that the president is determined not to allow this kind of capability to threaten the United States". He said the American commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable". And insuring the security of the continental U.S. will be a priority in this administration.

Pence spent nearly no time speaking directly about the missile launch on Sunday, referring to it only as "this morning's provocation from the north" in remarks he made at an Easter lunch with some United States troops and their families. He later stood a few meters from the military demarcation line outside Freedom House, gazing at two North Korean soldiers across the border and then a deforested stretch of North Korea from a lookout post in the hillside.

The DMZ is the highly-fortified de facto border between North and South Korea.

Abe told parliament he would exchange views on North Korea with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they hold a summit meeting later this month. For security reasons, Pence did not.

Pence said the visit was "particularly humbling for me" as his father fought in the Korean War.

USA military officials prepared a briefing for Pence about the so-called Battle of Pork Chop Hill, where his father earned his medal. The deployment of THAAD was approved by Seoul previous year, before the outbreak of current political tensions, and remains official policy.

"You don't want there to be death and destruction and turmoil around the world, but again, you have to have massive backbone when it comes to dealing with bad, awful dictators who don't like us, don't like our way of life, don't like us as a civilization. It was a lot of tough fighting here", Pence told CNN.

"This is someone who has demonstrated his brutality by murdering his own brother, by murdering others in his family, by imprisoning large numbers of people in disgusting conditions for no reason, for political reasons", McMaster said.

"It's very hard to discern what's real and what's for show, but they certainly want to convey the impression that they have improved their nuclear capabilities", Frank Lavin, former USA ambassador to Singapore, told CNBC.

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