On Asia trip, Pence may fill details on North Korea policy


Infiltration into South Korea by North Korean elite troops has taken place before.

He also stressed that each party should facilitate a condition which is advantageous to solving the tensions peacefully.

His message came hours after a North Korean ballistic missile test failed.

South Korea's military reported the attempt near the Sinpo region, the same area from which the North tested a ballistic missile last month. Earlier in the day, he visited a USA base near the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas.

Late Monday, Pence reiterated in a joint statement alongside South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn that "all options are on the table" and said any use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang would be met with "an overwhelming and effective response".

The US hopes China - North Korea's largest trading partner - can apply pressure to Pyongyang to curtail its nuclear ambitions.

DICTATOR Kim Jong-un has ordered his elite troops to snatch Western tourists from South Korea and use them as hostages if the USA attacks, it has been reported.

The US had good intelligence both before and after the launch, said a White House foreign policy adviser travelling with Mr Pence, who arrived in Seoul to start a 10-day trip to Asia. Trump said on Twitter.

"He continues to develop this program, he continues to launch missiles into the Sea of Japan", the adviser said.

More directly on North Korea, the president returned to a theme of placing much onus on China for reining in the North.

Kim Jong Un's New Year's address said as much, and with North Korea's recent string of new missile engine tests, we might be in for a potential ICBM test this year.

The failed launch came a day after North Korea showcased almost 60 missiles - including what is suspected to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile - at a giant military parade to mark the 105th birthday of its founder Kim Il-Sung. The U.S. moves an enormous warship to the waters off the peninsula in a display of military might.

Six-nation negotiations on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for aid fell apart in early 2009.

The United States slammed North Korea's latest missile test as a provocation and insisted on Sunday (Apr 16) it is working closely with China to resolve a crisis that Washington sees as reaching a critical stage. It has repeatedly called for talks while appearing increasingly frustrated with the North.

This is the first time we have seen missile canisters of this size and design in North Korea. North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-1953 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty. It has said it has developed and would launch a missile that can strike the mainland United States but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturizing a nuclear warhead.

China banned imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off its most important export.

That missile flew about 60 km (40 miles) but what US officials said appeared to be a liquid-fuelled, extended-range Scud missile only travelled a fraction of its range before spinning out of control.

Physicist and North Korea nuclear watcher David Albright, of the Institute for Science and International Security, estimated in a report last week provided to The Associated Press that through 2020, North Korea will have enough plutonium and weapon-grade uranium for about 25-50 nuclear weapons.

This does not mean that the missiles that were previously seen are gone, however, as we saw both the KN-08 and KN-14 during Kim's nuclear weapon design display past year.