A top-ranking USA military official on the Korean peninsula said the biggest concern is that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will "miscalculate" his chances of winning any military fight against the US and its ally, South Korea.
His travels to the region, including stops in South Korea and Japan beginning Sunday, 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.
Pence told reporters that Trump was hopeful China would use its "extraordinary levers" to pressure the North to abandon its weapons program, a day after the North's failed missile test launch.
On Monday he is scheduled to meet Acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn for talks expected to focus on the North's weapons programmes and a controversial USA missile defence system known as THAAD.
Since solid-fuel missiles can be stored ready to launch for a longer period of time and require less preparation prior to launching, the solid-fuel missiles were most likely intended as a technological display to signal significant developments in North Korea's offensive capabilities.
"But the era of strategic patience is over", Pence declared.
'But as the president has made very clear, either China will deal with this problem or the United States and our allies will, ' he said.
He called North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un "a threat to all people in the region, and globally as well", but cautioned that Trump "is clearly comfortable making tough decisions". Moon Jae-in, the likely election victor, has said no military action can be conducted without South Korean consent and that "South Korea should be the owner of North Korean issues".
North Korea has only a few of the larger transporters seen carrying the latter canister design, possibly explaining why we were not shown the KN-08s or KN-14s this year. Trump after all tweeted less than a fortnight ago that he was prepared to act unilaterally against North Korea if it does not come to heel.
After a two-month policy review, the Trump administration has settled on a policy toward the North that relies on "maximum pressure and engagement", US officials said Friday.
Meanwhile, China made a plea for a return to negotiations.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Monday that tensions need to be eased on the Korean peninsula to bring the escalating dispute there to a peaceful resolution.
Han cited Trump's tweets as problematic, as well as the USA military's participation in exercises with South Korea and an aircraft carrier's move to the region. He also met with American troops stationed at the joint U.S.
A U.S. Navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month with Tomahawk missiles raised questions about Trump's plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions, regularly threatening to destroy the United States.
The vice president visited a military installation near the DMZ, Camp Bonifas, for a briefing with military leaders.
The DMZ is a 4 km-wide strip full of mines that crosses the border between the two countries.
China has long held that it is unable to put sufficient pressure on Pyongyang because it is fearful that a strong worldwide response towards North Korea's nuclear program could trigger the regime's collapse. "But dialogue for the sake of having dialogue is meaningless".
Vice President Mike Pence will begin his highly-anticipated trip to Asia Saturday as tension continues to build on the Korean peninsula, with North Korea vowing to continue its provocative campaign to test and advance its nuclear program.