US vice-president to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

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But what does that mean?

The recent rhetoric from US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ratcheted up tensions.

His comments came after a North Korean diplomat told a United Nations summit that thermonuclear war could break out "at any moment". This decades-long standoff already has one unpredictable, ruthless and reckless leader.

China, a permanent member of the Security Council and one of North Korea's closest allies, had agreed to the statement, according to a Security Council diplomat.

Trump said he has a good chemistry with Xi. "But it's not what you would think". The next day, he tweeted "I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea". U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley circulated the missive in her role as president of the Security Council for the month of April.

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She said the Chinese have "gotten the message about increasing pressure and that they have said they want to increase cooperation with us and with the global community on this front". "Hopefully he wants peace and we want peace and that's going to be the end determination, but we're going to see what happens".

If there is any consistent thread there, besides the president voicing whatever pops into his head at any given moment, we're at a loss to discern it.

North Korea, however, withdrew from the six-party talks aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in 2009 and has shown no interest in returning. In calling out a country that's been happy to test out its new weapon capabilities, it seems like Trump is the one looking for trouble.

The impeachment of former president Park Geun-Hye - who took a hard line on North Korea - forced her out of Seoul's Blue House, giving the White House free rein in a crisis over Pyongyang's weapons programme. For in many ways, Pyongyang's goals parallel China's.

North Korea seemingly sent a message to the United States by displaying parts of the country in flames during a military celebration. But that won't stop the programs altogether. Since taking office, President Trump has repeatedly and unnecessarily demonstrated his ignorance on foreign issues, jeopardizing already tenuous relationships and thereby threatening the country's safety. We can not contain them with a few air strikes.

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But it is worth the effort Mr. Trump is making.

"They have become an organising principle in North Korean politics". Trump's belligerence and volatility only deepen North Korean paranoia and reinforce the logic of its nuclear ambitions.

Trump has been pressuring China, North Korea's main benefactor, to help defuse the situation over North Korea's development of atomic weapons and long-range missiles but he has also warned that the USA will settle the issue alone if other countries won't help. There had been speculation that a nuclear test was going to take place last week, to coincide with another important anniversary, the 105th birthday of the regime's late founder, Kim Il-Sung.

Trump's policy towards Russian Federation and to intervention in Syria has undergone a similar 180-degree turn, with the blustering British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, meekly acquiescing at each twist and turn. We need to be in a position to respond with something more than military threats.

The footage is unnerving considering North Korea's vice-foreign minister told BBC News that Pyongyang would continue to test missiles and would launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike if the country thought the US was planning an attack.

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