Pence warns North Korea of U.S. resolve shown in Syria, Afghan strikes

Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:00pm EDT
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By Roberta Rampton and Sue-Lin Wong

SEOUL/PYONGYANG (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea on Monday that recent American military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed President Donald Trump's resolve should not be questioned, but Pyongyang vowed to continue missile and nuclear tests.

After a huge display of missiles in Pyongyang and a failed North Korean missile test during the weekend, U.S. officials praised China for stepping up efforts to rein in North Korea, Beijing's neighbor and ally.

But Pence and South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, said they would proceed with the early deployment to South Korea of the U.S. THAAD missile-defense system, in spite of Chinese objections.

At a White House Easter celebration on Monday, Trump was asked if he had a message for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and replied: “Gotta behave.”

But senior North Korean officials remained defiant.

North Korea's deputy representative to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, accused Washington of creating “a situation where nuclear war could break out an any time” and said Pyongyang's next nuclear test would take place "at a time and at a place where our headquarters deems necessary."

(Graphic - Carl Vinson strike group:

(Graphic - North Korea's nuclear program:   Continued...

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stands next to his daughter looking toward the north through a pair of binocular from an observation post inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, April 17, 2017.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji