World

US VP Mike Pence reassures Japan of US resolve against North Korea

TOKYO: US Vice-President Mike Pence yesterday reassured Japan of America's commitment to reining in North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions, after warning that the United States' strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed the strength of its resolve.

Mr Pence arrived in Tokyo from South Korea, where he assured leaders of an "iron-clad" alliance. He warned the North, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions, that the "era of strategic patience" was over.

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North Korea showed no let-up in its defiance after a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles in Pyongyang.

"While all options are on the table, President (Donald) Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region and with China to achieve a peaceable resolution and the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," Mr Pence said before lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

He added: "We appreciate the challenging time in which the people of Japan live, with increasing provocation across the Sea of Japan. We are with you 100 per cent."

North Korea's deputy representative to the UN Kim In Ryong on Monday accused the US of creating "a situation where nuclear war could break out at any time" and said Pyongyang's next nuclear test would take place "at a time and at a place where our headquarters deems necessary".

North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol told the BBC that missiles will still be tested on "a weekly, monthly and yearly basis".

Mr Trump, asked if he was considering military action, told Fox News he didn't want to "telegraph" his plans like the previous administration.

US officials say new sanctions could include an oil embargo, a global ban on North Korea's airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang.- REUTERS

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