Cannot be complacent about potential threat of North Korean missiles - UK minister

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence affirmed Tuesday in Tokyo that they will urge China to play a greater role in preventing further provocation by North Korea. "The deputy ambassador says it sounds like you and the administration are insisting on gangster-like logic". They say it fails to take into account the complex patterns of global trade, pointing out that the US has run big deficits during periods of strong economic growth.

The Trump administration has signaled a more forceful USA stance toward North Korea's recent missile tests and threats, including a warning from Trump that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has "gotta behave".

On April 5, North Korea reportedly launched a ballistic missile from Sinpho, South Hamgyong province, in the direction of the Sea of Japan.

"We certainly support the right of our allies and friends to ensure that their interests are protected and their citizens are defended against any possible attack", Ms Bishop said.

Later Monday, Pence said in a joint statement alongside South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn that the United States' commitment to its ally is "iron-clad and immutable".

"[North Korea] is on a path to achieving nuclear weapons capability and we believe Kim Jong-un has a clear ambition to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload as far as the USA", she told AM.

"We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis", he told the BBC.

Jean-Francois Fiorina, a professor of Geopolitics at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France, said Donald Trump believes he can have an influence on the situation in North Korea - something he said is not the case. North Korea says whatever action the USA may take, it will respond in kind.

"I didn't soften my stance", Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

USA officials say tougher sanctions could include an oil embargo, a global ban on North Korea's airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang.

The report said that USA goods and services exports increased overall, with services exports reaching $20.5 billion, up 23.1 percent compared to pre-FTA levels.

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday he had no information to share about any such visit, adding that "China and the DPRK maintain the tradition of friendly exchanges".

"But at the same time", the prime minister said, "dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless and it is necessary for us to exercise pressure North Korea so that it comes forward and engages in this serious dialogue".

"That's a common failure mode for North Korean missiles very early on in their development cycle when they are working out the bugs in the propulsion and guidance system", the weapons expert told AFP.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a fresh appeal for calm.

"I've seen that the United States has reiterated it is willing to use political and diplomatic means to resolve this, as this is their first choice", he told reporters in Beijing.

Pence will take that message to upcoming stops this week in Jakarta and Sydney.

Trump campaigned for office on an "America First" platform, saying he would boost US manufacturing jobs and shrink the country's trade deficit with countries like Japan.

China banned imports of North Korean coal, its most important export, in February, and Chinese media have raised the possibility of restricting oil shipments to the North.

One called for "dual-track" talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula - the top priority of the United States - and replacing the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War with a formal peace treaty, a key demand of Pyongyang.

In early March, the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell provocatively close to Japan, in what it said was a drill for an attack on U.S. bases in the country.

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