V.P. Mike Pence addresses troops on N. Korea 'provocation'

Monday, 17 Apr, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump has employed tough rhetoric in response to North Korea's recent missile tests, but the new president's options appear limited in dealing with a challenge that has vexed his Oval Office predecessors.

"The missile blew up nearly immediately".

The US vice president was speaking after American officials said a North Korean medium-range missile exploded seconds after it was launched on Sunday.

Liu Ming, from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing was unlikely to take further action at this stage unless Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test or long-term ballistic missile test as Beijing insisted that talks, not military action, were the only solution to the North Korean issues.

The bottom line, McMaster said, is to stop the North's weapons development and make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free: "It's clear that the president is determined not to allow this kind of capability to threaten the United States".

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a town hall with business leaders in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, April 4, 2017.

Last year, North Korea launched 21 ballistic missiles and carried out two nuclear tests.

Sinpo, where the Sunday launch took place, is the site of a North Korean submarine base and where the North has tested the submarine-launched ballistic missile it is developing. The New York Times reported last month that the USA military is working hard on missile defences that would involve sabotage rather than traditional anti-missile interceptors.

On Monday he is scheduled to meet Acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn for talks expected to focus on the North's weapons programmes and a controversial USA missile defence system known as THAAD.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two a year ago.

In return, North Korea would get badly needed food aid.

But experts have said the parade of military might should worry the world.

While Pyongyang denied it had breached the agreement, the deal was suspended. With China representing South Korea's largest trading partner, Beijing has flexed its economic muscles through measures such as restricting Chinese tourism to South Korea, closing Korean-owned Lotte stores and blocking imports of Korean cosmetics and TV shows.

On Friday, China again called for talks to defuse the crisis. A USA aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force.

"If they are unable to do so, the US, with its allies, will!" the president said.

"This latest missile test just fits into a pattern of provocative and destabilizing and threatening behavior on the part of the North Korean regime", McMaster said on ABC's "This Week" program.

Earlier in the week, following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said the US would take unspecified action against North Korea if Beijing doesn't cooperate.