On Asia trip, Pence may fill details on North Korea policy

The U.S. had good intelligence both before and after the launch, said a White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived in Seoul in the afternoon to start a 10-day trip to Asia.

Ahead of Pence's arrival, North Korea's vice foreign minister told The Associated Press in an interview that Trump was the culprit of escalating tensions through his tweets and expansion of military exercises, arguing that the USA was becoming "more vicious and more aggressive" under Trump compared to his predecessor.

The Trump administration has said that the U.S.is keeping a military option in the region on the table, but is leaning toward a diplomatic and economic solution to the rising tensions with North Korea.

A White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence said no US response to the missile launch was expected because there was no need for the U.S.to reinforce the failure.

The official said that had it been a nuclear test, "other actions would have been taken by the U.S".

United States officials were quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying that the Trump administration was focusing more on raising pressure on North Korea with the help of China rather than using military force. China is North Korea's only major ally.

According to the adviser, the US had good intelligence both before and after the launch.

Tensions have been on the rise along the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks over concerns about North Korean aggression.

Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, attended the event, the first parade to be held in about 1½ years and which was clearly meant to heighten national prestige. 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.

A USA strike may prompt North Korea to immediately unleash artillery fire on Seoul and its surroundings, which is home to just more than half of South Korea's 51 million people, according to a report published by Stratfor a year ago.

In a broadcast interview that aired on Sunday, McMaster said the USA would rely on its allies as well as on Chinese leadership to resolve the issues with North Korea.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Friday that the government was always collecting and analysing information about North Korea's moves but refrained from commenting on details.

The Global Times, a Communist Party-affiliated Chinese newspaper, argued in an editorial this week that Beijing should support stiffer United Nations sanctions against North Korea, including the limit of oil exports, if the country conducts another another nuclear test. He has repeatedly declared that if China, North Korea's dominant trading partner, isn't willing to do more to squeeze the North, the US might take the matter into its own hands.

Washington and Seoul will try hard to figure out what exactly North Korea fired.

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