US VP Pence assures Japan America is with ally '100 percent'

China, pressed on using levers against North Korea, insists US holds the key

Pence (C) delivers a speech on board the USS Ronald Reagan on April 19, 2017. China and Russian Federation have reportedly launched "spy vessels" to follow the ships, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun in The Japan News, citing unnamed sources in the Japanese government.

The Trump administration has signaled a more forceful US stance toward North Korea's recent missile tests and threats, including a warning from Trump that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has "gotta behave". But the vice president said he was encouraged and believed North Korea was listening to the Trump administration's concerns.

"It's important that North Korea know we are not trying to pick a fight, so don't try to give us one", Haley said. "Everybody has been outplayed and they've all been outplayed by this gentleman (Kim Jong Un) and we'll see what happens", Mr. Trump said in the interview with Fox News.

Experts point out that China also wants to prevent North Korea from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power - and certainly wants to prevent a war on its southern border that could send millions of refugees flooding into China and potentially risk bringing a USA military presence to China's borders.

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.

On Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence-visiting the world's most heavily militarized border that divides the two Koreas-hinted that military options against the North have not been ruled out.

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Pence struck a stern tone after arriving at a USA naval base in Japan from South Korea.

"The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready", he added.

This comes as Pyongyang attempts to develop an global ballistic missile (ICBM) with a warhead attached capable of reaching the USA, and also after Trump reportedly ordered a Navy strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson toward the Korean Peninsula, though there are reports of the vessels being spotted thousands of miles away in Indonesia.

The unannounced visit at the start of Pence's 10-day trip to Asia was a USA show of force that allowed him to gaze at North Korean soldiers from afar and stare directly across a border marked by razor wire.

Pence also said on Tuesday that all options were on the table in dealing with North Korea, but that President Donald Trump is determined to work with Japan, China and South Korea to find a peaceful solution.

However, the two countries have not been able to draw up a road map for North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear programs, and the Japanese government plans to work with the United States to prepare for a possible military clash between the United States and North Korea.

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