Pence aims to reassure allies amid North Korea threat

The Latest: Pence addresses troops on N. Korea 'provocation'

Vice President Mike Pence will travel Sunday to South Korea amid heightened tensions in the region between Washington and Pyongyang as the Trump administration flexes its muscle in other parts of the world.

Satellite images taken Wednesday from North Korea show increased activity at the nations nuclear test site, according to to USA -based monitoring group, 38 North. However, military officials have said the United States doesn't intend to use military force against North Korea in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch.

"We are in close contact with the US and South Korea and in addition to urging (North Korea) to refrain from provocative actions and observe relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we will take all necessary steps to protect our people's lives and assets", Mr Suga said.

The autocratic nation will celebrate one of its most important holidays Saturday to mark the 105th birthday of its founder, Kim Il-sung - grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. Asked about North Korea this week, he told reporters: "North Korea is a problem". The North Korean missile failure became known an hour after the Pence party left Anchorage, Alaska, following a refueling stop on the long flight from Washington to northeast Asia.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the results of the policy review and requested anonymity.

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"The message, I think, is going to be about vigilance and deterrence", said Victor Cha, the Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

That came as South Korea's Foreign Ministry warned Pyongyang against any provocative acts of its own, such as a missile test, which some believe may be carried out against the backdrop of tomorrow's celebrations.

China's official Xinhua News Agency says China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula in a phone call Sunday amid escalating tensions in the region.

In Japan, Pence will kick off economic talks first announced by Trump and Japanese President Shinzo Abe after their February summit.

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