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20 April 2017, 11:32 | Justin Tyler
US China working 'closely' on North Korea Mattis
The United States is not seeking to negotiate with North Korea and it is not in direct talks "at this time" with the rogue Asian nation, Vice President Mike Pence told CNN and the Washington Post Wednesday.
North Korea is moving steadily toward that goal, and some experts believe it could achieve it during Trump's presidency.
In response, the general staff of the North Korean armed forces threatened to launch a strike against USA military bases in Japan and South Korea, as well as the presidential residence in Seoul in case of United States aggression.
U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed admonitions from sole major ally China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. A senior North Korean official said in an interview with the BBC this week that North Korea would conduct missile tests "on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis", and any military action against it by the United States would prompt "all-out war". Japan would begin to assume a larger role in defense of the region in coming years, Pence said, and the USA would uphold its commitment to protect all Japanese territories, including the Senkaku Islands, territory counter-claimed by China in the East China Sea. While Pence brought up the issue of reforming the five-year-old bilateral trade pact with South Korea in his previous stop, the vice president emphasized in Japan that Trump aims at reforming the tax code in the U.S.in order to boost businesses for both Washington and Tokyo.
North Korea is the most unsafe and urgent threat to the peace and security of the Asian Pacific.
He warned, "those who would challenge our resolve or 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".
"The United States will strengthen its presence in the Asia Pacific", he said.
The United States has more than 28,000 troops in South Korea and powerful assets at sea and in air bases around the region, but North Korea has artillery within range of Seoul.
South Korean presidential candidates clashed on Wednesday night in a TV debate over the planned USA -supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system which has angered China, with frontrunner Moon Jae-in criticized for leaving his options open.
It later emerged that the Navy strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, which was thought to be on its way was actually headed in the opposite direction. Everybody's been outplayed. They've all been outplayed by this gentleman and we'll see what happens. "It is in everybody's interest to contain North Korea's actions", Spicer said.
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