Pence to open Asian trip amid tensions with North Korea

The isolated nation's missile tests have drawn the ire of President Donald Trump, while North Korean officials have indicated they are prepared for war. In Tokyo, Pence will deliver remarks aboard the USS Ronald Reagan and will also visit troops in South Korea and Hawaii.

Ahead of Vice President Mike Pence's trip to neighboring South Korea this weekend, tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to escalate. Trump reportedly told Turnbull the agreement he reached with President Barack Obama to resettle refugees was the "worst deal ever". "The problem will be taken care of".

The Chinese military dispatched 20 submarines in waters around the peninsula, Yonhap News reported Friday, citing Taiwanese media outlet CNA.

After a two-month policy review, the Trump administration has settled on a policy toward the North that relies on "maximum pressure and engagement", US officials said Friday.

Wang stressed Beijing has been working hard to create the prospects for a resumption of talks between Washington and Pyongyang and said all parties should seize them.

The US Vice President Mike Pence is set to embark on a ten-day tour that will include South Korea and Japan.

Part of his mission will be to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the US will defend them against North Korean aggression without acting in a way that might tip the region into open conflict. Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site obtained by 38 North, a program devoted to analysis of the country at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, showed activity at the site suggestive of preparations for a nuclear test.

In a show of strength, the USA deployed the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to waters near the Korean Peninsula in response to recent North Korean missile tests. His arrival comes one day after one of the North's biggest national holidays, the birthday of late national founder Kim Il-sung, who is also grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.

Tensions spiked further as the US has redirected an aircraft carrier strike group led by USS Carl Vinson to waters off the Korean Peninsula in a massive show of force created to warn Pyongyang not to undertake any provocations. Thousands of USA and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry were also deployed last month in their biggest-ever joint military exercises, which prompted North Korea to issue routine threats of attacks on its rival if they show signs of aggression.

Officials told CNN that Pence will articulate the U.S.'s commitment to its regional allies.

The VP will be celebrating Easter with US and Korean troops on Sunday before talks on Monday with acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.

Pence will meet with business leaders at each stop, including in Jakarta, though he was not expected to wade into the weedy details of disputes between the Indonesian government and US companies like mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX.N).

On April 18, Pence will kick off economic talks with Japan requested by Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul contributed to this report.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives for the official opening of the Ryomyong residential area, Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

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