North Korea has threatened to launch weekly missile tests after US Vice President Mike Pence warned that the "era of patience" with Kim Jong-un is over.

Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol has ramped up the tension between the two nations by saying: "We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis."

He also said that an "all out war" was a possibility if the US responded by taking military action against Pyongyang, The Daily Mail reported.

A North Korean KN-08 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB) is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square. Photo / AP
A North Korean KN-08 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB) is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square. Photo / AP

The secretive state's deputy U.N. ambassador has also accused Washington of turning the Korean peninsula into 'the world's biggest hotspot' and creating "a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment."


Kim In Ryong told a news conference today that U.S.-South Korean military exercises being staged now are the largest-ever "aggressive war drill."

He said North Korea's measures to bolster its nuclear forces are self-defensive "to cope with the US vicious nuclear threat and blackmail."

Before adding that his country "is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US."

Pence said President Donald Trump are hopeful that China will now use its "extraordinary levers" to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear and ballistic program.

This morning he warned Kim Jong-un not to "test the resolve" of the President and insisted any use of nuclear weapons by the secretive state would be met with 'an overwhelming and effective response'.

The visit came shortly after a failed North Korean missile launch that some claim may have been "thwarted by cyber attacks from the US."

President Trump has ordered a naval strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, to the region, though the vessels remain a long way from the peninsula.

But this morning, Japanese media claimed both China and Russia had dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the 'armada' amid mounting concern over the US deployment. The claims were made by multiple sources of the Japanese government, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together. Photo / AP

Russia today warned Washington against launching a unilateral strike on North Korea claiming the US was on a "risky path".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "We do not accept the reckless nuclear missile actions of Pyongyang that breach UN resolutions, but that does not mean that you can break international law. I hope that there will not be any unilateral actions like the one we saw recently in Syria."

Last night, the US refused to rule out a pre-emptive strike on North Korea as Trump's national security adviser warned the situation was 'coming to a head'.

After the rogue state ran a missile test that failed, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said "all our options are on the table" to try to "avoid the worst".

Frantic talks were taking place with allies including China to "develop a range of options" in an attempt to quell tensions and calm fears of thermo-nuclear war.

But, with a strike group of US forces already posted to the Korean Peninsula, Mr Trump added further fuel to the fire, saying he had been forced to beef up his military.

On Twitter, the President wrote: "Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice."

Mr Trump and General McMaster said they hoped China would convince its neighbour, which depends on Beijing to prop up its trades and finances, to stop the crisis escalating.

On Saturday dictator Kim Jong-un's regime displayed its military muscle in a huge parade, before yesterday's missile test which exploded within seconds.

The medium-range missile - fired from a base in the Sinpo area - ended in farce because it 'blew up almost immediately', sources said. The US Pacific Command said it believed it to be a ballistic missile, which is initially powered and guided, but then uses gravity to fall to its target.

Of its failure, former British conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind told the BBC on Sunday: 'It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is a very strong belief that the US - through cyber methods - has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail.'

The US, its allies and China are working together on a range of responses to North Korea's latest failed ballistic missile test, Trump's national security adviser said, citing what he called an international consensus to act.

But Mr Pence and South Korean acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn said they were troubled by retaliatory moves by China against the deployment of in South Korea of a US anti-missile system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

"The United States is troubled by China's economic retaliation against South Korea for taking appropriate steps to defend itself," the Vice President said.

South Korea, which accuses China or discriminating against some South Korean companies working in China, and the United States say the sole purpose of THAAD is to guard against North Korean missiles. China says its powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security and spoke out against it again on Monday.

Mr Pence, on his visit to the region, said there had been a "period of patience" over the years over North Korea but "the era of strategic patience is over.:

He said the Trump administration hoped their clarity will be received in North Korea, adding the US and its allies will achieve its objectives through 'peaceable means or ultimately by whatever means are necessary' to protect South Korea and stabilise the region.

Mr Pence told reporters near the DMZ that the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. is "ironclad" and reiterated that 'all options are on the table' to pressure North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons and missile program.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, is briefed by U.S. Gen. Vincent Brooks, right, commander of the United Nations Command. Photo / AP
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, is briefed by U.S. Gen. Vincent Brooks, right, commander of the United Nations Command. Photo / AP

Mr Pence, who is on a 10-day Asian tour, visited a military base near the DMZ, Camp Bonifas, for a briefing with military leaders and to meet with American troops stationed there.

The joint U.S.-South Korean military camp is just outside the 2.5-mile-wide DMZ.Pence, who had flown into South Korea yesterday, accused North Korea of "provocation:.

The DMZ is one of the most heavily fortified regions in the world. It is a swath of territory that lies roughly along the 38th parallel.

Measuring 150 miles long, it became the de facto border that separates North and South Korea following the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Despite occasional fluctuations in geopolitical tensions, the DMZ has largely remained quiet since the war.

Pence said the US was going to rebuild its military, "restore the arsenal of democracy" and give troops the resources they needed to accomplish their mission.

Evoking former president George W Bush's speeches on the eve of the Afghan and Iraq wars, Mr Pence said 'freedom will ever prevail'.

The visit carries a great deal of symbolism for the Vice President personally. His late father, Edward, served in the Army during the Korean War and was awarded the Bronze Star on April 15, 1953.

Mr Pence displays his father's Bronze Star and a photograph of his father receiving the honor in his office and said it was 'humbling for me to be here.'

"My father served in the Korean War in the U.S. Army. On the way here, we saw some of the terrain my father fought in," he said.

"We're grateful every day. It's a great honor to be here."