North Korean leader's desire for peace a deciding factor, says Donald Trump

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"But President Trump and I and our administration believes the most productive pathway forward is dialogue among the family of nations that can isolate and pressure North Korea into abandoning permanently and dismantling its nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile program".

Tensions between Pyongyang and the Western world have steadily increased in recent years, as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has repeatedly ordered ballistic missile tests - acts that many USA officials view as provocative events.

Pence reiterated that after years of North Korea testing the United States and its neighbors in East Asia with its nuclear ambitions, the USA "era of strategic patience is over".

"We're already seeing our allies in South Korea and Japan and the wider world standing behind us, but China is taking unprecedented steps to economically isolate North Korea, and given the fact that China represents more than 80 percent of the exports from North Korea this is enormously important", he said.

He warned, "those who would challenge our resolve or our readiness should know: We will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response".

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Mr Pence's speech on the aircraft carrier followed meetings in Tokyo on Tuesday with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, where he noted that "all options are on the table".

The US military is reportedly considering plans to potentially shoot down future North Korean missile tests amid an intensifying war of words in which North Korea has threatened the US with nuclear war if attacked.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States and it showed no let-up in its belligerence after the failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.

Mr Mattis condemned the attempted missile launch as he began a Middle East tour, telling reporters travelling with him to Saudi Arabia: "The leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile".

A USA official said the projectile "blew up nearly immediately", adding the type of missile North Korea was testing was still being assessed.

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He did not comment on what might have caused the missile to fail but a n official said the missile was a Scud variant that the United States calls a KN-17.

At that event he said that the Trump administration is actively working with its allies in the region - Japan, South Korea and China - to deploy diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to try to achieve a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn (right) and US Vice President Mike Pence (left) read a joint statement after their talks.

China made a plea for a return to negotiations.

Pence told the ship's captain that he had spoken to President Donald Trump, and Trump "wishes he were here".

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China is seriously concerned about the latest developments in the nuclear and missile programmes of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

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