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18 April 2017, 02:32 | Clarence Schmidt
President Donald Trump
The U.S., which last week acted unilaterally in ordering a cruise missile strike on Syria, has recently dispatched what Trump called an "armada", including an aircraft carrier, into waters off the Korean Peninsula. Pence says, "North Korea would do well not to test his resolve".
State-owned China International Travel Service (CITS) and online travel company Ctrip.com have halted selling travel packages to North Korea, reported the South China Morning Post on Sunday, along with other Chinese tour operators.
The newspaper said this could come in the form of a pre-emptive strike as it reported that U.S. national security adviser General HR McMaster has told British security chiefs and military top brass that Washington has the intelligence to target key sites in the nuclear programme.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited the demilitarised border between North and South Korea on Monday and reiterated that the U.S. "era of strategic patience" with Pyongyang was over.
Also on auspicious weekend, North Korea appeared to fail in missile launch attempt; type of missile not yet known North Korea revealed what is believed to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at a military review on April. 15.
President Donald Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the failed launch, which was attempted from the east coast city of Sinpo. But Pence expressed impatience with the unwillingness of the regime to move toward ridding itself of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The official said there was limited data as the missile blew up so quickly.
One day earlier, North Korea conducted a massive military parade in Pyongyang to celebrate the April 15 anniversary of founder Kim Il Sung's birthday.
Tensions in the Korean peninsula have been high in the past few days.
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hailed that test as the "greatest success" and said it brought the U.S. mainland within range of a mobile delivery system.
Trump, who has proven to be unpredictable on foreign policy, has responded to the recent concerns over North Korea with a swagger that suggests a new, tougher stance.
China, which Trump has urged to do more to rein in North Korea, has spoken out against its weapons tests and has supported United Nations sanctions. "But for this particular case, if they took the time and energy to launch a missile that failed, we don't need to expend any resources against that". "And our president will take action that is in the best interest of the American people", he said.
That same secrecy is responsible for what USA officials have consistently described as limited US intelligence about the North Korean government's inner workings.
"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?" Trump tweeted on Sunday. A USA aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force. That led North Korea to issue routine threats of attacks on its rivals if they show signs of aggression. North Korea regularly launches short-range missiles, but it is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target USA troops in Asia and, eventually, the US mainland.
Pyongyang has carried out five nuclear tests -- two of them a year ago -- and multiple missile launches, one of which saw three rockets come down in waters provocatively close to Japan last month.
The White House foreign policy adviser travelling with Pence told reporters that the type of missile that North Korea tried to fire on Sunday was medium-range, and that it exploded about 4 to 5 seconds after it was launched.
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