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21 April 2017, 09:33 | Max Haynes
Pence reassures Japan of US resolve against North Korea
North Korea has detonated five nuclear devices with another one expected soon and now appears to have an ICBM, but it so far has been unable to master designing a nuclear weapon small enough to fit on an ICBM. They also say greater Chinese cooperation is vital.
That weekend test loomed over a visit Monday by U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, where he warned Pyongyang that after years of taunting the U.S. and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, "the era of strategic patience is over".
-North Korea spat has started to intensify, the Chinese administration has become increasingly concerned about both Kim Jong-un's unpredictable disposition and what it could potentially mean for the Chinese economy.
"For my part, in some odd way, it's encouraging that they're getting the message", Pence said.
North Korea marks the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People's Army on Tuesday, an important anniversary that comes at the end of major winter military drills, South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Duk-haeng said. The vice president's tour also includes stops in Seoul, Tokyo, Jakarta, Sydney and Hawaii.
Pyongyang periodically warns Washington of the dire consequences of taking on North Korea militarily.
The Japanese leader called for a peaceful resolution to the North Korea tensions but did not rule out the need for tough measures. Kim, his father and grandfather have established such an atmosphere of complete control and cult-like obedience with North Koreans who have been cut off from all outside information that it is hard to predict how the people would react.
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Diplomats said Pyongyang ally China had agreed to the statement.
Tillerson publicly stated last month that Washington has nothing to show for "20 years of a failed approach", concluding that the United States wouldn't sit down with North Korean diplomats unless they would be wiling to eliminate their nuclear weapons program entirely. While North Korea has always been a volatile country, the necessity of trade relations with China has kept the regime's 33-year-old leader relatively subdued in past years.
The report comes after USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson said that the U.S. is looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear programme, including whether Pyongyang should have been removed from a USA list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Joshua Pollock, a senior researcher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California is quick to remind The Guardian that North Korea hasn't tested any intercontinental ballistic missiles yet, so the starting line is a ways away.
Trump and his aides got to work on the problem immediately - their attention compelled by persistent reports that Kim Jong Un was about to test a new, more advanced nuclear weapon.
"This exercise will rigorously test our aerial combat capability and highlights the ironclad commitment between the USA and the Republic of Korea and the multifaceted capabilities we possess in this theater".
Speaking to TIME in an exclusive interview earlier this month, Moon described his vision as one of "a mature democracy, prosperity, human rights, and peace" on the Korean peninsula.
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