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NKorean official says will continue missile tests

21 April 2017, 12:11 | Winston Chapman

The term "reckless" is one the North Koreans have used to describe ongoing large-scale US and South Korean military exercises, which the North calls a dress rehearsal for an invasion.

Pence reassured Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday that the US considers its alliance with Japan to be a cornerstone of security in the region.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's 10-day tour of East Asia will focus primarily on easing uncertainty among U.S. allies about the administration's policies in the region.

"We will not rest and will not relent until we obtain the objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula", he said.

Sin Hong-chol, North Korea's deputy foreign minister, told Aljazeera in an exclusive interview on Monday that Donald Trump's administration "should look at the world with open eyes".

Mr Pence had flown in from South Korea where he had visited the demilitarized zone dividing it from North Korea.

US Vice-President Mike Pence had said earlier that his country's "era of strategic patience" with North Korea was over. The North conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests last year, defying six Security Council sanctions resolutions banning any testing, and it has conducted additional missile tests this year including one this past weekend that failed.

This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung.

In particular, between Trump's early calls for strategic partners such Japan and South Korea to cover more of the costs of supporting US troops on their shores, his decision to withdraw the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, and his administration's recent statements and actions in response to North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Trump has helped put the typically slow-moving and carefully managed geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific in flux.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a new appeal Tuesday for calm on the Korean Peninsula.

"If the United States of America is planning a military attack against us we will react with a nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and method", Han said.

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"I still don't think that China is going to put the kind of pressure that's necessary on North Korea", said Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. His national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said the US would rely on its allies as well as Chinese leadership to resolve the issues with North Korea.

The official said Tuesday that Japan still hopes to bring the US back into a multilateral framework such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Pence's speech on the aircraft carrier followed meetings Tuesday in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where he noted that "all options are on the table".

Pence said U.S. exporters should face a level playing field and trade relations should be "win-win".

"To some extent, we want to do for the United States what we did for IN", the White House adviser said. The White House adviser said Tuesday's talks would not prescribe a free-trade deal but talks might eventually lead to such negotiations. With no USA trade representative yet in office and other key positions still unfilled, such nitty-gritty discussions will have to come later.

The loss of USA participation in the TPP was a blow to Japan following strenuous negotiations, especially over opening access wider to its long-protected farm sector.

But Pence foreshadowed some reworking of commercial and economic ties, saying that the USA seeks a free and fair relationship that helps job creation and economic growth for both sides.

As Indiana governor, Pence saw firsthand the impact of Japanese automakers Toyota, Honda and Subaru, whose factories employ thousands of people in his home state.

"We support the U.S. putting pressure on Chinese banks to ensure that the elites in North Korea can not continue to live the comfortable lives that they now do while the people of North Korea are suffering".

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