Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

US VP Pence says to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

US VP Pence says to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

US Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on the US commitment to Asia Pacific with a stern warning for North Korea, which he called the "most risky and urgent threat" to the region.

"We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan", Pence said after arriving from Seoul for talks with Abe.

Speaking to Fox News television, Trump said he was dealing with Xi "with great respect" and that China had already begun enforcing more strictly its own ban on coal imports from North Korea.

South Korea is staging a tense election campaign and the public both there and around the region is fearful that either Kim or Trump or both might make good on their warlike rhetoric.

(English-Reuters 3082) "All options are on the table. History will attest the soldier does not bear the sword in vain".

"And those who challenge our resolve for our readiness should know we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response".

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.

Pence's first stop on his scheduled 10-day Asia tour was South Korea, where he spoke with leaders and visited the Korean Demilitarized zone.

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The North has said such launches are an act of deterrence against a potential invasion by the US or South Korea.

The U.S. military says an aircraft carrier participating in curtailed training with Australia before starting its journey north toward the Korean Peninsula.

The Guardian report said Defense Secretary James Mattis has already briefed Congress on the possibility, but the Pentagon has not yet decided whether to go ahead with the option.

"The policy of President Trump is to marshal the support of our allies in the region - Japan, South Korea, nations around the world, and China", Pence said.

"The only thing we need to hear from North Korea is that they are ending and ultimately dismantling their nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program", Pence said aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.

Vice President Mike Pence and Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso walk on their way to a meeting at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo on April 18, 2017.

And in Washington, top officials now express hope that North Korea's great power neighbor China will apply the necessary political and economic pressure to halt its nuclear tests.

We condemn Pyongyang's opportunistic nuclear missile plans, which violate the numerous UN Security Council resolutions.

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