US Vice President Mike Pence during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
On a visit to Tokyo, US vice president Mike Pence stressed his country was fully behind Japan, one of its key allies in Asia, after tensions soared with North Korea.
North Korea has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions and has said it has developed a missile that can strike the USA mainland.
South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, said in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that they would strengthen their alliance with the US and work with China in keeping North Korea in check.
"We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan", Pence said after arriving from Seoul for talks with Abe.
"We're going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience", Pence said.
The statement, which was tabled by the USA, would also tell North Korea not to conduct further nuclear tests.
North Korea's state television aired footage of a choral performance attended by Kim Jong Un, the elder Kim's grandson, on Sunday, a day after a huge military parade in Pyongyang, which also marked the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung.
If we can't count on China to help resolve the stalemate with North Korea, what can USA leaders do?
USA experts believe that only China has sufficient economic and political leverage to restrain Pyongyang's drive to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland with a nuclear warhead. "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".
Earlier on Tuesday North Korea accused the United States of bringing the Korean Peninsula into "a unsafe situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment".
Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation "under control" with the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula.
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"The US is disturbing global peace and stability and insisting on the gangster-like logic that its invasion of a sovereign state is "decisive, just and proportionate" and contributes to "defending" the worldwide order in its bid to apply it to the Korean peninsula as well", the ambassador said.
When BBC's John Sudworth asked Han's message for Trump, he said, "I would tell him that if the United States encroaches on our sovereignty, then it will provoke an immediate counter-reaction".
Said Abe: "It goes without saying that it is a matter of paramount importance for us to seek diplomatic efforts as well as peaceable settlements of the issue".
The comments to Reuters came before U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday cited, without explanation, "some very unusual moves" that he said had been taken over the last two or three hours.
The statement was made amid an escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula with the South Korea and United States military reporting April 16 that they had witnessed what they believe to be a failed missile test by Pyongyang which followed a number of missile launches and nuclear tests considered to be in violation with the UN Security Council resolution.
The escalation comes as Washington took tougher stance on several high-profile worldwide issues, including the Syrian conflict, the situation in North Korea and Iran's nuclear deal.
Meanwhile Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi made a new appeal for calm on the Korean Peninsula and says he believed the United States would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the stand-off. While the U.S. moved an aircraft carrier to the Korean coast to intimidate Pyongyang, North Korea made a display of its missile strength and tested a missile which failed, though it was seen as an act of defiance.
Pence's economic discussions in Tokyo will be closely watched to see how hard a line Washington is prepared to take on trade.
"China, if it wishes to, it can cut off North Korea's economic lifeline to the world", he told ABC radio on Wednesday.
In November previous year, the United Nations restricted member states from importing North Korean coal on the basis that the $1 billion annual revenue may contribute to the DPRK's weapons programs.
Mattis did not identify the type of missile but said it was not of intercontinental range, meaning it could not reach US territory. With no USA trade representative yet in office and other key positions still unfilled, such nitty-gritty discussions will have to come later.