Pence says 'era of strategic patience' is over

Trump defends about-face on labeling China a currency manipulator

Visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that "an era of strategic patience is over" on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"The president and his military team are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch", Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a statement.

Pence tells reporters near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea that President Donald Trump is hopeful that China will use their "extraordinary levers" to pressure the North to abandon their weapons.

Shortly before Pence's arrival in South Korea, the DPRK test-launched an unidentified missile from its east coast. He will try to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the U.S. will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression.A North Korean missile exploded during launch Sunday, U.S. and South Korean officials said.

"We're going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience".

"I appreciate the United States taking a clear position on various occasions including at the US, China summit with regard to China's unfair actions in connection with the USFK (United States Forces in Korea) deployment of THAAD", he said.

North Korea will continue to test missiles, a senior official has told the BBC in Pyongyang, despite global condemnation and growing military tensions with the US.

On Monday, Pence will also meet South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and National Assembly speaker Chung Sye-kyun.

To achieve this new strategy, the administration is relying heavily on China, a country President Donald Trump spent his entire campaign railing against, but has since stopped as it became clear North Korea would be a top priority requiring China's help.

The vice president earlier visited a military installation near the DMZ, Camp Bonifas, for a briefing with military leaders at the joint U.S. He also met with American troops stationed at the joint U.S.

Lavrov told journalists in Moscow that if Pence's words can be understood as a threat to take unilateral action against North Korea, "then this is a very risky path".

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday told a parliamentary session that diplomatic efforts were "important to maintain peace", but "dialogue for the sake of having dialogue is meaningless".

US Vice-President Mike Pence, who has just begun a 10-day tour of Asia and Australia, said the administration would work to stabilise the region and protect South Korea by "peaceable means, or ultimately by whatever means are necessary".

At the same it's increased its military footprint in the region by deploying a naval carrier strike group to waters off the Korean Peninsula.

Pence's visit to the tense DMZ dividing North and South Korea came at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia and underscored US commitment.

On Friday, North Korea said the risky security situation was due to the "Trump administration's reckless military provocation".

"If the U.S. is reckless enough to use military means it would mean from that very day, an all-out war", he said.

After a two-month policy review, the Trump administration settled on a policy dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement", USA officials said Friday.

"I suspect they all might be mock-ups aimed to impress the outside world", Lee Il-Woo, a senior analyst at the private Korea Defence Network, said, according to the ABC.

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

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

The North has said it has developed and would launch a missile that can strike the US mainland, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturizing a nuclear warhead.

Pyongyang has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions, and regularly threatens to destroy South Korea and the United States.

In February China announced it was halting all imports of coal from North Korea - a crucial earner for Pyongyang - for the rest of the year.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in its annual foreign-currency report, stopped short of labeling China a currency manipulator and instead urged Beijing to let the yuan rise with market forces and embrace more trade.

Meanwhile, China made a plea for a return to negotiations.

"Because what is sense is to see whether the United States is really serious in finding solutions, whether in Syria or Korea". Two mobile launchers and other elements of THAAD were delivered last month to a USA military base in South Korea. The report attributes North Korea's high rate of failure with Russian-designed missiles to United States meddling in the country's missile software and networks.

The North regularly launches short-range missiles, but is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target USA troops in Asia and, eventually, the US mainland.

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