Pence says Washington will 'reform' FTA with S. Korea

Pyongyang watchers have been expecting a sixth nuclear test by the North in line with key anniversaries this month.

With the US already considering "all options", Hwang said a North Korean violation of its United Nations commitments would be met with "a corresponding consequence".

When asked by a reporter what kind of message he had for Kim Jong-un, Trump simply said Monday at the White House that the North Korean leader has "gotta behave", without elaborating.

"All 296 North Koreans have or will leave Malaysia in stages", the department said.

Wang's comments came amid a mounting war of words between Washington and Pyongyang.

"We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis", the BBC quoted Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol as saying in an interview.

"We had made a pretty big point of making it clear that we weren't willing to sacrifice our domestic economic interests for the sake of some foreign policy issue", said Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative under Obama.

He went on to clarify that the approach of a US naval strike force led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to Korean waters would not be considered enough to constitute "the slightest movement". The North conducted two nuclear test explosions and 24 ballistic missile tests in 2016, and experts predict it could have a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA mainland within a few years. Washington is increasingly anxious about North Korean efforts to develop a nuclear-tipped missile that could hit the USA mainland.

White House officials say the meetings in Tokyo are meant to forge a framework for future discussions after the US withdrew from a Pacific Rim trade pact.

Pence, on a 10-day Asia trip that will also take him to Indonesia and Australia, said Trump hopes China will use its leverage to get its longtime ally North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Malaysia said today 296 North Koreans had surrendered to authorities over the last week, as it enforces new visa requirements following a dispute over the murder of the half-brother of North Korea's leader.

"All options are on the table to achieve the objectives and ensure the stability of the people of this country", he told reporters as tinny propaganda music floated across from the North Korean side of the so-called demilitarized zone (DMZ).

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The stance is sparking concerns among former officials in successive Democratic and Republican administrations who say Trump appears to be abandoning a pillar of United States efforts to urge China's cooperation on North Korea.

As talks began Tuesday, Aso said the U.S. -Japan alliance has underpinned peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and that trade friction with the U.S. has given way to an "age of cooperation".

"To some extent, we want to do for the United States what we did for IN", the White House adviser said.

He indicated Trump was not considering military action for now, despite the dispatch the carrier group.

Instead he reiterated two Chinese proposals the United States rejected. And I told them, 'You want to make a great deal?' Solve the problem in North Korea.

"We're definitely not seeking conflict or regime change", she said. Abandoning that policy, according to officials from President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama's administrations, risks sending a unsafe message to USA allies and adversaries alike and sending the U.S. tumbling down a slippery slope.

With their meeting, Pence and Aso are to start a series of US-Japan trade talks announced by President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February. The vice president's tour also includes stops in Seoul, Tokyo, Jakarta, Sydney and Hawaii.

It is the top USA state for per-capita foreign direct investment from Japan, including higher-technology and better-paying manufacturing jobs, said Victor Smith, Pence's commerce secretary when he led the state.

The focus of his trip is expected to shift in Japan to trade.

China has appeared increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang, speaking out against its weapons tests and supporting United Nations sanctions, while repeatedly calling for talks.

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