Kim's desire for peace 'deciding factor' in US-North Korea relations

Posted April 20, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence said "all options are on the table" as North Korea continues to develop its nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs, during a speech Wednesday aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

The Navy said earlier that the carrier will arrive in the Korean region next week.

Lu said Beijing wants to resume the multi-party negotiations that ended in stalemate in 2009 and suggested that US plans to deploy a missile defense system in South Korea were damaging its relations with China.

South Korea is staging a tense election campaign and the public both there and around the region is fearful that either Kim or Trump or both might make good on their warlike rhetoric.

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

"Potential partners in oil and gas development, firms that might sell generation or substation equipment to the DPRK, transmission system software vendors, or any number of other businesses that might sell goods or services into the DPRK energy sector would certainly have to approach the DPRK with more than the usual amount of care, given that they know that the United States is looking closely at companies trading with the DPRK", David Von Hippel, a senior researcher at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability told NK News. "History will attest the soldier does not bear the sword in vain".

"Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response", Pence said.

Military officials believe shooting down North Korean test missiles would accomplish two things - hindering Pyongyang's ability to develop long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States, and sending a clear message that its saber-rattling will not be tolerated by President Donald Trump's administration.

Pence is on a 10-day Asia trip that will see him also visit Indonesia and Australia.

According to the sources, the Pentagon would likely use an Aegis missile defense system on a Naval vessel to shoot down North Korean test missiles - not the more sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system the United States is providing to South Korea's government for security.

The North held a show of military might in a parade over the weekend and tested another missile on Sunday, which the Pentagon said blew up nearly immediately after launch.

Pence said he had spoken with Trump and by 2020 some 60 percent of the USA naval fleet would be in the region and Japan's role will grow.

Pence, dressed in a green military jacket, said aboard the hulking USS Ronald Reagan that President Donald Trump's administration would continue to "work diligently" with allies like Japan, China and other global powers to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang.

Asked about possible talks with the North, she said, "I think there is a feeling that the time - the conditions are not really ripe for any kind of talks until North Korea shows that it is serious about what would be accomplished by undertaking such talks".