Pence reassures Japan as North Korea threatens 'weekly' tests

Posted April 20, 2017

China made a plea for a return to negotiations.

March was an even busier month for the Korean Peninsula. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence waves before leaving for Japan, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

North Korea will continue to test missiles regularly and any military action against it by the United States would prompt "all out war", a senior North Korean official has told the BBC.

Recently, Pyongyang has been alarmed by the U.S. deployment of the THAAD missile system in South Korea in early March.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi repeated China's line that the crisis could only be resolved by diplomacy. "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". Last week, Trump said he would not declare China a currency manipulator, pulling back from a campaign promise, as he looked for help from Beijing, which is the North's dominant trade partner.

Like South Korea, Japan already faces a direct threat from the secretive regime.

"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region", Pence said.

Mattis denounced North Korea's attempted missile launch as he began a Middle East tour, telling reporters traveling with him to Saudi Arabia, "the leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile", he said.

He also said North Korea believed its nuclear weapons protect it from the threat of military action by the United States.

At the outset of his meeting with Abe, Pence said that "While all options are on the table", Trump was determined to work with Japan, South Korea and other allies in the region to resolve the problem. Trump, in the presence of Xi Jinping, announced that he struck a blow on Syria.

Shortly after, North Korea issued a forceful response to the deployment of a U.S. naval strike group, including the 97,000-ton aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, to the region April 10, saying it would counter "reckless acts of aggression" with "whatever methods the USA wants to take".

North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations reiterated on the weekend that the North is ready to respond to any USA missile or nuclear strike.

Meanwhile, the U.S. waded again into military action, dropping a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), the United States military's largest non-nuclear weapon, on an ISIS hideout in Afghanistan, the first time this type of weapon has been used in battle, according to USA officials.

Two days later, at an annual military parade in Pyongyang, the North Korean regime showed off a bevy of new missiles and launchers at its annual military parade.

Part of the display were two new ICBM-sized canisters as well as North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missile, and a land-based version of the same for the first time, according to analysts.

The following day, April 16, another attempted missile launch by the Kim regime failed, US and South Korean defense officials told CNN.

Pence made an unannounced visit to the Demilitarized Zone at the start of his 10-day trip to Asia in 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.

"It has created a risky situation in which nuclear war may break out at any moment on the peninsula and pose a serious threat to the world's peace and security, to say nothing of those in northeast Asia".