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VP Pence to North Korea: "The Sword Stands Ready"

22 April 2017

None of the U.S. officials who spoke about the heightened level of activity by Chinese bombers suggested alarm.

Two U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News that North Korea is in a position to conduct a nuclear test with little or no warning.

Speaking on the deck of a massive U.S. aircraft carrier on Wednesday, Pence cautioned North Korea against testing the resolve of the United States military.

USA officials said Chinese bombers had been put on "high alert" in order to react to a potential crisis on the Korean peninsula, several reports said.

However, Xi's message to Mr. Trump was that diplomacy is the only "workable" solution, and he laid out a proposal.

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"The authorities of the Trump administration are spouting a load of rubbish calling for browbeating North Korea", the statement said, adding that the U.S. said it would deploy "a nuclear aircraft carrier and its strike groups in the waters off the Korean peninsula".

Diplomats said the US -drafted statement would strongly condemn the launch and express the council's "utmost concern" at North Korea's "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance" of council resolutions.

US Vice-President Mike Pence, on a trip to Asia, has repeatedly warned that the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over and on Wednesday said it would meet any attack with an "overwhelming response". In fact it is reported that Trump is now consulting his advisors over whether and when to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea.

Beijing has always been opposed to America's military presence in South Korea but President Trump's recent courting of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his apparent change of heart towards China may be bearing fruit.

By using China's cooperation, Trump has moved away from US's past policies which didn't barter economic or foreign policies with China in exchange for support on North Korea.

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If North Korea had more modern technologies, its missiles could reach the opposite coast of the United States.

Tillerson was responding to a reporter's question about the possibility of North Korea being restored to the United States' list of state sponsors of terrorism, from which the country was removed by the Bush administration in an attempt to salvage a nuclear weapons deal.

U.S. experts believe that China enjoys the adequate economic and political influence to prevent Pyongyang from developing a long-range missile capable of hitting the USA mainland with a nuclear warhead. Despite U.S. military superiority, options are limited - and last week's false reports that an aircraft carrier was going to the region to send a resolute signal to North Korea did not help. North Korea does not have many friends in the world, but China is one.

North Korea has said it will conduct nuclear and missile tests when it sees fit.

Speaking to Fox News about rising tensions with Pyongyang, Trump repeatedly referred to "the gentleman" leading North Korea as an individual who had persistently outwitted U.S. administration after administration, at least as far back as the Clinton era of the 1990s.

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Pence referred to the firing of the missile as an outright provocation, and reasserted that the U.S. will stand by South Korea all along.