A dramatic moment aboard Air Force 2 while headed to South Korea

Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul South Korea Friday

Mike Pence arrived at the gateway to the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas on Monday, an AFP correspondent reported, in a show of USA resolve hours after North Korea failed in its attempt to test another missile.

The attempted launch comes a day after the regime of Kim Jong Un showed off a bevy of new missiles and launchers at its annual military parade.

The North successfully launched a medium-range missile, called the KN-15, on the morning of April 5 from a land-based site near the eastern port city of Sinpo, according to U.S. Pacific Command headquarters.

ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "Geopolitics seemed to dominate over the past week with the ramifications of the U.S.' missile strike on Syria still reverberating and tensions around North Korea steadily building", Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital, said in a commentary.

His travels to the Asia-Pacific region come amid indications that North Korea is potentially preparing its sixth nuclear test in a decade or a significant missile launch, such as its first flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Pence is due in Seoul at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides said was a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension over North Korea.

The Foreign Office in London said it was "concerned by reports of a missile test by North Korea" and was "monitoring the situation closely". In Tokyo, Pence will deliver remarks aboard the USS Ronald Reagan and will also visit troops in South Korea and Hawaii.

The group brought ships that could shoot down missiles that North Korea has been testing.

"If the US provokes recklessly, the revolutionary forces will take an annihilating strike", Choe Ryong Hae, a senior regime official, said in a speech at the parade.

Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the failed launch. "But all options are on the table as we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of South Korea", Pence said at the village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarised Zone. About 28,500 USA troops are stationed here.

Analysts say North Korea is years away from developing a submarine launch based missile capability (SLBM), but with each test it moves one step closer.

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. China is North Korea's only major ally.

Speaking at the DMZ, Pence said the USA "has always sought peace through strength and my message here today. standing with courageous soldiers from the Republic of Korea is a message of resolve". "We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable". He will aim to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the United States will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression.

McMaster said various United States military and intelligence agencies are working on providing options to "have them ready" for Trump "if this pattern of destabilizing behavior continues".

The United States has nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea and is keen to see the project fully deployed.

During a briefing with Gen. Vincent Brooks, head of U.S. Forces Korea, Pence said the alliance between Americans and South Koreans "is historic" and "a testament to the unshakeable bond between our people".

"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?" North Korea has maybe eight. Recent satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time. Thousands of USA and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry were also deployed last month in their biggest-ever joint military exercises, which prompted North Korea to issue routine threats of attacks on its rival if they show signs of aggression.



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