US carrier heading toward Korean Peninsula


Amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea, Vice President Mike Pence visited South Korea in a symbolic show of resolve, declaring that the United States would not negotiate with the rogue nation "at this time" and assuring thousands of US sailors and regional military partners during a visit to the USS Ronald Reagan in Yokosuka, Japan, that "the sword stands ready".

Aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, Mike Pence reaffirmed the US commitment to defend its East Asian allies from North Korea.

As he stood aboard the aircraft carrier, Pence said President Donald J. Trump sent him to thank US and Japanese service members who have "stood up and stepped forward to protect our countries, our values and our very way of life".

North Korea did test a missile on Sunday, but by USA and South Korean accounts it failed "within seconds".

As Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Japan to further forge the economic ties between the two nations, Japan says it will take the lead to finish the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States.

The Trump administration has said that it is reviewing all options on North Korea, including those involving military action, but Defense Secretary James Mattis is also underscoring the need for a non-military solution.

South Korean government officials sought to play down Pence's comments about overhauling the existing trade agreement between the two countries. "We're trying to make it very clear to people in this part of the world that we are going to achieve the end of a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula - one way or the other". Australia plans to work closely with Japan, South Korea and the USA, and with China, "to ensure that China can use its unique position".

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The U.S. auto industry also sees this as an opportunity to gain an advantage over Japanese makers. Standing near the razor-wire-covered border, Pence warned Pyongyang that "the era of strategic patience is over".

In Trump's first 100 days in office, Pence noted, the new president has taken steps to strengthen America's military.

Speaking to USA and Japanese troops on board the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier Wednesday, he called North Korea the most urgent and unsafe threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region.

Trump has urged China to rein in North Korea.

While the US may be out of the TPP, Japan isn't. He visited South Korea earlier and will head to Indonesia after his stop in Japan.

Sin Hong-choi, North Korea's deputy foreign minister, made some explosive comments in an interview, when he stated: "The time of dictating orders by brandishing the U.S. military might has gone".