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VP Pence Opens Asian Trip Amid Tensions With North Korea

Vice President Mike Pence (file photo)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is opening a trip to the Asia-Pacific region amid increasing tensions in North Korea over the regime's nuclear and missile programs.

Pence is set to arrive in South Korea on April 16, and he will also visit Japan during his 10-day trip.

His travels to the Asia-Pacific region come amid indications that North Korea is potentially preparing its sixth nuclear test in a decade or a significant missile launch, such as its first flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

U.S. President Donald Trump, asked about North Korea this week, told reporters: "North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of." He has repeatedly declared that if China, North Korea's dominant trading partner, isn't willing to do more to squeeze the North, the United States might take the matter into its own hands.

The remarks came as a U.S. aircraft carrier heads to waters off the Korean Peninsula. However, military officials have said the U.S. doesn't intend to use military force against North Korea in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP