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However critics accused him of ignoring Asia, especially the problem in North Korea.

The official pointed out the recent engagement with the Chinese, and the stronger language calling for more Chinese pressure on North Korea, is the most immediate impact of that review. China accounts for 80% of North Korea's foreign trade and has significant political leverage over North Korea. "We have to be honest about where our trade relationship is falling short".

He recalled that the US and South Korea have made joint efforts to realize a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. That's worth having deficits.

During his election campaign, Donald Trump called the trade pact with Seoul, which came into effect five years ago, a destroyer of USA auto industry jobs.

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea was over.

But Trump's diplomatic forays so far with Xi - whom Trump hosted at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida earlier this month - are bearing tentative signs of progress. They stress their desire to ensure that the situation does not escalate out of control, but at the same time they are not ruling out military action.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a fresh appeal for calm. "The era of strategic patience is over", Mr Pence said.

The US and North Korea stand on the verge of igniting a nuclear war after provocations from both sides.

Such an attack could cause tens of millions of fatalities across the USA, ushering in a literal "dark age", said Pry. For them, ignoring Pyongyang's risky escalations is simply not an option. Kim has threatened to rain "nuclear thunder" on the United States.

"In order to strengthen the way we deal with the North Korean issue, we will convey our view and conduct policy consultation to make sure that we are on the same page", Japanese chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday. "That is not going to instill confidence".

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Pyongyang carried out a failed missile launch on Sunday in a provocative move that ramped up tensions with Washington. "The better path would be for China to address the North Korean threat that is actually making such defensive measures necessary".

Abe and Pence affirmed that their countries will continue to share information as allies, but there was no specific mention of the United States consulting Japan before taking serious action on North Korea, the official said. Trump tweeted last week. "Trump is more impulsive and unpredictable than Kim Jong Un", he told viewers of his prime-time Sunday "Vesti Nedelyi" program, which earlier this year carried paeans to Trump for his pledge to warm up relations with Russian Federation. Standard policy - which calls for shooting down of a North Korean missile after launch if the trajectory is deemed to threaten South Korea, Japan or the United States - remains in place.

"I think the president has made clear we're aware of the activities that they've engaged in, and we're monitoring them".

United States officials said the Trump administration has settled on a policy dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement" after a two-month policy review.

"If you are Japan or Taiwan, you start to wonder if your interests might get traded", he added.

Pence's Japanese hosts will be cautious about any USA military action that could trigger a broader regional conflict.

"As far as nuclear test is concerned, it was already announced to the public".

That also involves updating any analysis on the latest thinking of how North Korea might militarily react if the U.S. were to take military steps.

But senior North Korean officials remained defiant.

At the same time, Chinese companies have been involved in the shipment of banned technology to North Korea.