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Pence warns NKorea 'era of strategic patience is over'

"We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis", Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC's John Sudworth in Pyongyang.

"We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves", Kim said.

Pence and South Korean acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn, speaking a day after a failed missile test by the North and two days after a huge display of missiles in Pyongyang, also said they would strengthen anti-North Korea defences by moving ahead with the early deployment of the THAAD missile-defence system. He said the American commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable".

Pyongyang is seeking to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the USA mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them past year.

US National Security Advisor HR Macmaster said on Sunday that both Beijing and Washington agree that tensions need to be addressed on the Korean Peninsula.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "We do not accept the reckless nuclear missile actions of Pyongyang that breach United Nations resolutions, but that does not mean that you can break worldwide law". For more than two decades the United States and our allies have worked to peacefully dismantle North Korea's nuclear program and alleviate the suffering of their people.

He said rolling back the hostile USA policy toward the DPRK "is the precondition to solving all the problems in the Korean Peninsula".

Later, when ABC News pressed Trump on his next move on the Korean Peninsula, he said, "You'll see". He says any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea will be met with "an overwhelming and effective response".

North Korea will continue to test missiles, a senior official told the BBC in Pyongyang. Under rainfall, Pence later stood a few meters from the military demarcation line outside Freedom House, gazing at the North Korean soldiers across the border, and then peered at a deforested stretch of North Korea from a lookout post in the hillside.

The new and inexperienced USA president has indicated he will not allow North Korea to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the western United States.

A North Korean navy truck carries the "Pukkuksong" submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, April 15, 2017.

He reiterated USA support for South Korea, telling acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn: "We are with you 100%".

Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that pre-emptive military action was "on the table".

Tensions have risen as Trump takes a hard rhetorical line with Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed admonitions from China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programmes seen by Washington as a direct threat.

The BBC's Stephen Evans in Seoul says United States policy now seems to be to persuade China to contain North Korea while keeping the economic and military pressure on.

Besides Sunday's launch, North Korea has held a series of large-scale events in the past week including a massive celebration and military parade on Saturday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow could not accept North Korea's "reckless nuclear actions" but the United States should not take unilateral action against it.

The North regularly launches short-range missiles, but is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target US troops in Asia and, eventually, the USA mainland. "Any message for North Korea, sir, Kim Jong-Un?" he asked.

"I think there's an worldwide consensus now including the Chinese", said McMaster, "That this is a situation that just can't continue".

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