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US Vice President Mike Pence to open Asian trip amid tensions with North Korea

AP Washington 14 Apr 2017, 11:34:02 IST

Vice President Mike Pence is opening his 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 Sunday as President Donald Trump vows that Kim Jong Un's government is a "problem" that will be "taken care of."

The vice president's 10-day trip comes as North Korea celebrates the 105th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung, which falls on Saturday and is North Korea's most important holiday. A large-scale military parade is expected.

Tensions have been on the rise along the Korean Peninsula with the arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier to the area and the deployment of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry for their biggest-ever joint military exercises.

Pyongyang has warned of war if it sees any signs of aggression from south of the Demilitarized Zone.

White House advisers say it's possible that the regime could attempt to showcase its nuclear program or launch ballistic missiles during Pence's trip.

Pence will also travel to Japan, where he is expected to discuss the possible framework of bilateral trade talks, and make stops in Indonesia and Australia.