Pence says United States stands by ally Japan on North Korea problem

It has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.

Speaking aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier now undergoing scheduled maintenance at its home port of Yokosuka, Pence said USA intentions remained unwavering in the face of the threat posed by the reclusive North, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions, most recently with a failed missile launch on Sunday.

For example, before the TPP took effect in 2012, South Korea's trade surplus against the United States stood at $11.6 billion at end-2011.

US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated his country's commitment to the security of Japan on Tuesday, as North Korea intensified concerns over its weapons programme with a vow to launch missile tests "every week".

"It is our belief by bringing together the family of nations with diplomatic and economic pressure we have a chance of achieving a freeze on the Korean Peninsula", Mr Pence said.

Calling the communist regime "the region's most unsafe and urgent threat", Pence stressed once again that "all options are on the table".

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 USA was ready to work to achieve a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The new forum for trade talks was launched by Trump and Abe during the Japanese leader's visit to the U.S.in February. He also met with American troops stationed at the joint U.S. -South Korean military camp, which is just outside the 2.5-mile (4.02-kilometer)-wide DMZ. "All 296 North Koreans have or will leave Malaysia in stages", the department said.

Pence puts Japan on notice that Washington wants results "in the near future" from talks it hopes will open markets to USA goods, adding that the dialogue could lead to negotiations on a two-way trade deal. "But dialogue for the sake of having dialogue is meaningless".

Either way, China is not just a mere observer or umpire at this lethal ping-pong match between the USA and North Korea.

Pence's visit came amid increasing tensions and heated rhetoric on the Korean Peninsula. While the North did not conduct a nuclear test, the specter of a potential test and an escalated USA response has trailed Pence as he undertakes his Asian tour.

In a softening of USA rhetoric, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton told reporters the U.S. wasn't seeking regime change or conflict in North Korea. "I haven't changed my stance, China's trying to help us", he said.

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.

But John Schilling from the 38 North monitoring group said the failure was indicative of the test of a new and hitherto unknown system being developed by Kim Jong-Un's regime.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the results of the policy review and requested anonymity.

Pence arrived in Japan after visiting South Korea and leaves for Indonesia later on Wednesday. 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.

Another official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an intelligence matter, said the missile was a Scud variant that the USA calls a KN-17.

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