Pence: US won't rest until N. Korea gives up nuclear weapons

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It was Pence's second stop on the trip, which will later take him to Australia and Indonesia.

The Trump administration is focusing its strategy on tougher economic sanctions, possibly including an oil embargo, a global ban on its airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang.

Though Pence stated the Trump wants to resolve the dispute with North Korea by peaceful means, Bloomberg reported that North Korea has indicated that it is not receptive to US overtures for conciliation.

Vice President Mike Pence and Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso walk on their way to a meeting at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo on April 18, 2017.

Pence and Abe agreed that they needed to persuade China to play a larger role in dealing with North Korea, a Japanese government spokesman said.

Pence reiterated that after years of North Korea testing the US and its neighbors in East Asia with its nuclear ambitions, the USA "era of strategic patience is over".

Despite mounting tensions between North Korea and the US, President Trump appears not to know the difference between the current leader Kim Jong-un and his father Kim Jong-il. While the North did not conduct a nuclear test, the specter of a potential test and an escalated US response has trailed Pence as he undertakes his Asian tour.

When asked if he had ruled out some sort of military strike against North Korea, Trump said he did not wish to reveal his plans.

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In early March, the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell provocatively close to Japan, in what it said was a drill for an attack on United States bases in the country.

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

The talk show host took aim at Mr Trump for his apparent ignorance during his late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday night.

"We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable".

Mr Pence arrived in Tokyo from South Korea, where he assured leaders of an "iron-clad" alliance. "So we'll see what happens". Pressure on North Korea is crucial, the prime minister said.

President Trump denied he's softened his position on China to gain its help in curbing North Korea's increasing military provocations.

He said the Trump administration's deployment of the Carl Vinson nuclear carrier task group to waters off the Korean Peninsula again "proves the U.S. reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario". "It can cause North Korea to revisit prior assumptions and to kind of rethink the situation, but it's unclear yet whether that's going to have a sufficient effect to actually bring this to a good conclusion". Days later, in response to a question about the warships, Trump told the Fox Business Network that the US was "sending an armada, very powerful" to North Korea.

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