Pence keeps spotlight on Korean Peninsula

Japan’s deputy prime minister Taro Aso

"We express the resolve of the people of the United States of America to stand together in the months and years ahead with the people of South Korea to both preserve their freedom and ensure the objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula", the vice president added.

Addressing more than 2,500 U.S. and Japanese military personnel, the Donald Trump's vice president indicated war could be imminent by saying "storms gather on the horizon". Pence would not confirm or deny to CNN whether the USA used cybercapabilities to thwart it.

"That's an alliance decision back, I guess, over a year ago now or about a year ago, and we have been sort of continuing apace in that decision", she said.

"I really can't comment on the electronic and technical capabilities of our military, but we certainly would recognize that that was a failed missile test, it failed nearly immediately", he said.

He said the USA plans to strengthen its presence in the Asia-Pacific region and remained dedicated to the protection of Japan.

Pence, dressed in a green military jacket, said aboard the hulking carrier Ronald Reagan that President Trump's administration would continue to "work diligently" with allies like Japan and China to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang. But Pence expressed impatience with the unwillingness of the regime to move toward ridding itself of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Pence told reporters Monday that Trump was hopeful China would use its "extraordinary levers" to pressure the North to abandon its weapons program.

Since entering office, Trump has pressed China to use its political and economic leverage over North Korea.

Pence pointed to reports of China turning away coal exports from North Korea as an example of the new United States strategy bearing fruit.

But economic policy advisers traveling with Pence reportedly said the trip is also aimed at reassuring Washington's allies that the current administration wants to boost trade in the Asia Pacific region particularly after the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Nevertheless, the USA reportedly directed two additional aircraft carrier groups toward the Korean Peninsula this week. North Korea's nuclear and missile development dominated the agenda on his first stop in South Korea.

In addition to the Carl Vinson strike group, which had already been directed toward the area, the Pentagon has sent the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz toward the Sea of Japan as part of a larger show of force following North Korea's missile tests, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation "under control" with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

A senior official with the Trump administration said the mistake was due to miscommunication.

He went on to vow that the U.S. would "defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response".

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