'Sword stands ready,' Pence warns North Korea

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence looks at the North side from Observation Post Ouellette in the Demilitarized Zone, near the border village of Panmunjom which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War South Korea Monday

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the USA against taking unilateral military action in North Korea on Monday at a press conference in Moscow.

Pence told reporters near the Demilitarized Zone on Monday that Trump was hopeful China would use its "extraordinary levers" to pressure the North to abandon its weapons program, a day after the North's failed missile test launch.

Mr Trump has been pressuring China, North Korea's benefactor, to help defuse the situation, but has also warned that the USA will settle the issue alone if other countries will not help.

Pyongyang said it may test missiles on a weekly basis, and warned of "all-out war" if the USA takes military action.

"But at the same time", the prime minister said, "dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless and it is necessary for us to exercise pressure North Korea so that it comes forward and engages in this serious dialogue".

North Korea has always been a threat to the USA and its Asian allies South Korea and Japan.

What is the "North Korean problem" Beijing will help solve in return for more indulgent consideration on future U.S.

"I wouldn't describe relations between North Korea and the Obama administration as an era of strategic patience, because the United States greatly restricted North Korea's ability to develop the industries that could promote the nuclear or energy sectors".

The White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence told reporters that the type of missile that North Korea tried to fire on Sunday was medium-range, and that it exploded about 4 to 5 seconds after it was launched.

South Korea is staging a tense election campaign and the public both there and around the region is fearful that either Kim or Trump or both might make good on their warlike rhetoric.

Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation "under control" with the goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.

"I think Beijing is prepared to tighten the screws - but only so much".

He said the country should have been dealt with by President Obama and "previous presidents all the way back to Clinton".

US Vice President Mike Pence has threatened North Korea with an "overwhelming" response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons. "We are with you 100%", he said. Then, after North Korea tested an atomic bomb in 2006, the United States pressed the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on North Korea.

Trump is clearly on the mind of the North Korean leadership. Meanwhile, China continues to insist that it won't stand idly by while Seoul deploys the missile system, known as THAAD, driving home its point by halting package tours to the South and retaliating against a supermarket chain and other South Korean business interests within China.

But the meetings could indicate how forcefully the US will pressure Japan to further open its farm and automotive sectors.

President Xi Jinping of China will probably amp up the pressure somewhat, and that's useful - North Korean missiles are built using some Chinese parts - but few expect Kim Jong-un to give up his nukes.

However, the range of China's action remains limited by its priorities on North Korea: "No war, no instability, no nukes", in declining order of importance, said Haenle.

"The time of dictating orders by brandishing the U.S. military might has gone".

Both sides said they do not expect the talks in Tokyo this week to delve into sector-by-sector talks on trade.

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