US VP Pence warns North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Vice President Mike Pence shake hands prior to a luncheon hosted by Abe at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Vice President Mike Pence shake hands prior to a luncheon hosted by Abe at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo

But the vice president expressed impatience with the unwillingness of North Korea to move toward ridding itself of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

BEIJING (AP) - China defended its trade practices on Tuesday after Chinese-made vehicles were seen towing ballistic missiles during a North Korea military parade despite global sanctions against selling military hardware to Pyongyang.

China has called for a return to multi-sided talks that ended in a stalemate in 2009, during the rule of North Korea's previous leader, Kim Jong Il.

During Saturday's military parade it displayed what appeared to be new intercontinental ballistic missiles. China believes there is the "highest possibility" of a nuclear test on April 25, but "does not leave out the possibility it might take action in early May", Boxun News said.

South Korean officials confirmed that Wu, China's top nuclear envoy, during a visit to Seoul last week said he proposed to visit Pyongyang in person to persuade the North to refrain from further provocations. But he was spurned.

Lu Chao, a Chinese expert on Korean studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, was among multiple analysts that told the state-affiliated tabloid Global Times Tuesday that if North Korea did not refrain from conducting its sixth nuclear test, it would "definitely trigger" more intense United Nations sanctions, and that China will implement them.

Pence struck a stern tone after arriving at a USA naval base in Japan from South Korea.

The Trump administration has said military action remains an option for dealing with North Korea.

The state-run news agency, KCNA, reported on the ending of the elaborate performance.

Xining was unveiled in January and boasts a deadly arsenal of weapons designed for missions including air defence and submarine warfare.

Australia's prime minister also urged China to do more, saying Beijing has the "greatest obligation and responsibility" to de-escalate the threat from North Korea.

US Vice President Mike Pence, on a trip to Asia, has repeatedly warned that the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over and on Wednesday said it would meet any attack with an "overwhelming response". Japan is weighing a retaliatory strike capability against the North.

Trump told Fox News Tuesday in reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping, "He's working so nicely that many coal ships have been sent back. Nobody's ever seen it like that".

"The U.K. supports that, 14 members of the Security Council support that".

Both countries are trying "to get this under control and aim for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula", he said.

North Korea's latest missile test on Sunday reportedly failed, exploding shortly after launch. "China and the United States and South Korea, Japan, we all share that same interest". "But the atmosphere in China, which has left a back door open to North Korea regardless of the worldwide community's sanctions, is changing little by little".

China accounts for an estimated 80 percent of North Korea's foreign trade, along with crucial food and fuel assistance.

The remarks came a day after North Korea threatened the United States with "all-out war" and announced that Pyongyang would continue to test missiles on a weekly basis.

In a Monday interview with Radio Sputnik Toloray suggested that the U.S. threats toward North Korea was mere "bluff". So-called secondary sanctions on Chinese banks that do business with North Korea could also be in the offing, officials have said.

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