China, US working on 'North Korea problem'

South Korea says believes Washington will consult before striking N.Korea

A fresh North Korean missile test failed when it exploded after launch Sunday, the USA military said, a day after Pyongyang defiantly showcased its ballistic arsenal at a giant military parade.

Kim has overseen three nuclear tests and a string of missile and rocket launches since taking over after the death of his father, dictator Kim Jong Il, in late 2011. He will aim to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the US will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression.

Another missile test from Sinpo failed earlier this month, when the rocket spun out of control and plunged into the ocean.

The latest launch came a day after the North held a defiant massive military parade in Pyongyang which showcased almost 60 missiles - including a suspected new intercontinental ballistic missile.

After a two-month policy review, officials settled on a policy dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement", USA officials said Friday.

"Additional analysis will be needed", said a military official.

"North Korea showing a variety of offensive missiles at yesterday's military parade and daring to fire a ballistic missile today is a show of force that threatens the whole world", South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The vice president said at a fellowship dinner at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul that the willingness of military members "to stand firm without fear inspires the nation and inspires the world".

Pence said he had spoken with President Donald Trump, who asked to convey to the troops in South Korea that "we're proud of you and we're grateful for your service".

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A North Korean missile "blew up nearly immediately" on its test launch on Sunday, the U.S. Pacific Command said, hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed in South Korea for talks on the North's increasingly defiant arms programme.

Recent satellite images suggest the North's main nuclear site is "primed and ready", according to specialist USA website 38North, and White House officials say military options are "already being assessed".

"We had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch", the adviser told reporters on condition of anonymity. Neither military knew what kind of missile was sacked. The administration's immediate emphasis, they said, was to be on increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of Beijing.

The North has in turn warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked. "The North doesn't seem to be quite at the place to test an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile)", he said.

With speculation mounting that the North is preparing to conduct a sixth nuclear test, he sent an aircraft carrier-led strike group to the Korean peninsula - a pointed gesture in the wake of the recent United States missile strike on Syria.

Pyongyang's rogue atomic ambitions have come into sharp focus in recent weeks, with Trump vowing a tough stance against the North and threatening unilateral action if China failed to help curb its neighbor's nuclear program.

"I think the (Trump) administration anticipated that a ballistic missile launch would occur, and I have to wonder whether they were prepared to use the ships that are with that carrier group to shoot down that missile" as long as the ships were positioned in the right spots, Bennett said.

Sunday's launch comes a day after the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung. While the North did not conduct a nuclear test, the spectre of a potential test and an escalated US response has trailed Pence as he undertakes his Asian tour.

It also launched a ballistic missile on April 16, in an apparent signal that Pyongyang does not plan to back down in the face of military pressure from the US Donald Trump administration.

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