World Bulletin / News Desk
Washington will soon unveil its "toughest and most aggressive sanctions" ever against North Korea, US Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday after talks with Japan's prime minister in Tokyo.
"I'm announcing today that the United States will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea," Pence said, standing alongside Shinzo Abe after talks on the threat posed by Pyongyang.
"Let the world know this: We will continue to intensify our maximum pressure campaign until North Korea takes concrete steps towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation," he added.
President Donald Trump has criticised the policy of previous US administrations towards North Korea and has already convinced the global community to significantly tighten sanctions against Pyongyang.
But so far, China has failed to agree to a game-changing oil embargo, and there remains fierce debate inside the White House on whether pre-emptive military action will be needed to stop North Korea's drive for nuclear power status.
Pence stressed Wednesday that "all options are on the table" and pledged that Washington would continue to deploy some of its "most advanced military assets to Japan and the wider region" to protect against the threat posed by North Korea.
Abe, who like Pence will travel to South Korea's Pyeongchang for the Winter Games, said he had told the US vice president: "We can never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea."
"We shouldn't be captivated by the charm offensive of North Korea," he added.
North and South Korea have, at least temporarily, put aside their enmity to allow Pyongyang to send athletes to the Games, an opening that some see as an opportunity to push for a negotiated settlement.
But Pence warned that North Korea would not be allowed to instrumentalise the Games.
"We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games," he said.
"We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region."
"Deal of the Century" refers to a back-channel U.S. plan to settle the Palestine-Israel dispute
Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Alejandro Murat, governor of the state of Oaxaca, were on their way to survey the scene of the destruction left by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake when the accident occurred, the interior ministry tweeted.
The arrival of Trump and his wife Melania came at the end of a difficult day for the families of those killed in Wednesday's rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida, who learned that the carnage could perhaps have been averted.
Trump to consider report suggesting high tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports
Army uses live ammunition, rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza
Tanks to be integrated into Iraqi armed forces 'within days', Defense Ministry source says.
Army uses teargas and live ammunition to disperse stone-throwing Palestinians in West Bank city of Nablus
Jens Stoltenberg speaks about recent events near the Kardak islets in Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece
Israeli authorities arrested resistance icon last summer for allegedly 'inciting violence'
After snap election last month in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, 4 parties form new coalition government
Rex Tillerson also plans to meet Lebanese PM and parliament speaker before wrapping up regional tour in Turkey
UN envoys of Washington and Moscow blamed each other for atrocities in Syria
Communities suffering from high suicide rates among youth, unsafe drinking water
Police identify 19-year-old former high school student Nikolaus Cruz as suspected shooter