The United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” is over. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.
China, North Korea’s sole major ally and neighbour which nevertheless opposes its weapons programme, has called for talks leading to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing.
North Korea denounced the United States for bringing “huge nuclear strategic assets” to the region as the Carl Vinson strike group with a flag-ship nuclear-powered aircraft carrier steamed closer, and said it stood ready to strike back.