Japan backs tougher USA stance on North Korea

Alvin Kelly
April 19, 2017

North Korea has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions and has said it has developed a missile that can strike the U.S. mainland.

US Vice President Mike Pence visited South Korea this week, where he told CNN that President Donald Trump's administration would "abandon the failed policy of strategic patience" forged under former President Barack Obama, explaining that Washington meant to use economic and diplomatic tactics to deal with Pyongyang.

While inspecting the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, Pence warned Pyongyang that after years of testing the US and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, "the era of strategic patience is over".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence assured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday that the United States stands "100 percent" behind its anchor ally in Asia in working to defuse risks from North Korea's nuclear program.

He added: "We appreciate the challenging time in which the people of Japan live, with increasing provocation across the Sea of Japan".

"You read Clinton's book, and he said 'Oh, we made such a great peace deal.' And it was a joke", Trump said.

The New York Times last month reported that under former President Barack Obama the United States stepped up cyber-attacks against North Korea to try to sabotage its missiles before launch or just as they lift off.

But Trump has also shown he is willing to link trade to other issues, saying he would cut a better trade deal with China if it exerts influence on North Korea to curb its nuclear ambitions. All-out war would ensue if the USA took military action, he said.

The second of the two ICBMs was mounted on a North Korean-branded "Taekpaeksan" military truck which used tyres made by China-based Triangle Group, according to photos of the parade seen by Reuters.

Dr. Bong said conducting a nuclear test so soon after the missile test yesterday would be "crossing the red line".

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He said: 'I don't want to telegraph what I'm doing or what I'm thinking.

Appearing later with South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, the vice president pointed to Trump's recent military actions in Syria and Afghanistan as signs that the new administration would not shrink from acting against the North.

North Korea could potentially strike Australia if its missile program was allowed to continue, she said.

The official briefed reporters on customary condition of anonymity after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso in Tokyo to launch the U.S. -Japan Economic Dialogue.

"Despite the strong ties between the USA and Korea, we have to be honest about where our trade relationship is".

North Korea could react to a potential United States strike by targeting South Korea or Japan, and officials in both countries have been ill at ease with the more bellicose language deployed by President Donald Trump's administration.

Pence earlier told a news conference in South Korea that "the era of strategic patience is over" after North Korea on Sunday test-fired another missile and fears mounted that it may be preparing a sixth nuclear test.

Since 2006, it has been against United Nations sanctions to ship military hardware into North Korea but control of equipment and vehicles that have "dual-use" military and civilian applications has been far less stringent. And Japan and South Korea are very anxious by North Korea's chemical weapons.

Speaking at the event, Abe said that Japan also hopes for peaceful dialogue with Pyongyang, "but at the same time, dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless".

"China's position on this issue is clear and unshakable, similarly to the position of other countries".

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