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U.S. 'sword stands ready', Mike Pence warns North Korea
20 April 2017, 06:06 | Erica Roy
What could be an intercontinental ballistic missile is paraded across Kim Il-sung Square during a military parade in Pyongyang North Korea
US Vice President Mike Pence, on a tour of Asian allies, has said repeatedly the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.
Aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, the vice president told troops he was there as "storm clouds gather on the horizon" of Northeast Asia.
It would also demand an immediate end to the North's nuclear and missile tests, threaten to take "further significant measures" - United Nations code for new sanctions - and state that North Korea's illegal activities "are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond".
"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region", Pence said.
"China continues to have both economic and political influence over North Korea".
"North Korea is the most risky and urgent threat to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific", Pence said.
Ahead of the "Day of the Sun" on April 15, one of the biggest celebrations in the North Korean calendar, North Korea analysts said satellite images showed Pyongyang was "primed and ready" for a sixth nuclear test.
She said that she wanted Pyongyang to see that the U.S. was not an aggressor.
"If those businessmen in power in the U.S. thought of intimidating us by any military or sanction threats - as the [Barack] Obama administration used to do and failed - they will soon find out such threats are useless". We've said it as clearly as we can possibly say it.
That kind of rhetoric has unnerved allies in Japan and South Korea.
Pence said Trump was hopeful China would use its influence in the region to pressure the North to abandon its weapons program.
The North has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.
The US military's Pacific Command explained that the USS Carl Vinson strike group first had to complete a shorter-than-planned period of training with Australia.
On April 14, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said conflict over North Korea could break out "at any moment" and warned there would be "no winner" in any war.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stressed that the burden is on North Korea to prevent an escalation.
Pence arrived in Japan after visiting South Korea and leaves for Indonesia later on Wednesday.
In a veiled warning to China, Pence added that "our treaty (with Japan) covers all the territory administered by Japan, including the Senkaku Islands" - a disputed archipelago in the East China Sea that is controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing.
Pence said the U.S. would defend the right to freedom of navigation through the waterway, one of the most important shipping channels on the planet.
He also said more of America's most advanced military assets would be deployed to the Asia-Pacific.
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About 47,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan and a further 28,000 are in South Korea.
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