(Adds details on U.S. options)
* McMaster stresses non-military options
* Failed launch comes day after parade of new missiles
* Vice President Pence in South Korea for talks
By Lucia Mutikani and Sue-Lin Wong
WASHINGTON/PYONGYANG, April 16 The United
States, its allies and China are working together on a range of
responses to North Korea's latest failed ballistic missile test,
U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser said on
Sunday, citing what he called an international consensus to act.
H.R. McMaster indicated that Trump was not considering
military action for now.
"It's time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of
a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully," he said
on ABC's "This Week" program. "We are working together with our
allies and partners and with the Chinese leadership to develop a
range of options."
McMaster added: "There is an international consensus now,
including the Chinese leadership, that this is a situation that
just cannot continue."
The Trump administration is focusing its North Korea
strategy on tougher economic sanctions, possibly including an
oil embargo, a global ban on its airline, intercepting cargo
ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang,
Reuters reported last week, citing U.S. officials.
While Trump has employed tough rhetoric in response to North
Korea's recent missile tests, the new U.S. president's options
appear limited in dealing with a challenge that has vexed his
Oval Office predecessors.
Most options fall into four categories: economic sanctions,
covert action, diplomatic negotiations and military force.
The North Korean missile blew up almost immediately after
its test launch on Sunday, the U.S. Pacific Command said.
Hours later, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed in South
Korea for talks on the North's increasingly defiant arms
program. His visit came a day after North Korea held a military
parade in its capital, Pyongyang, marking the 105th anniversary
of the birth of founding father Kim Il Sung. What appeared to be
new long-range ballistic missiles were on display in the parade.
Tensions have risen as Trump takes a hard rhetorical line
with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed
admonitions from China and proceeded with nuclear and missile
programs seen by Washington as a direct threat.
Trump acknowledged on Sunday that the softer line he had
taken on China's management of its currency was linked to
China's help on the North Korea issue.
"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are
working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what
happens!" Trump said on Twitter. Trump has backed away from a
campaign promise to label China in that way.
South Korea said the North's latest show of force
"threatened the whole world."
But a U.S. foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence on
Air Force Two sought to defuse some of the tension, saying the
test of what was believed to be a medium-range missile had come
as no surprise.
"We had good intelligence before the launch and good
intelligence after the launch," the adviser told reporters on
condition of anonymity.
"It's a failed test. It follows another failed test. So
really no need to reinforce their failure. We don't need to
expend any resources against that."
The adviser said the missile's flight lasted four or five
Pence, addressing an Easter service with American troops in
South Korea, said the U.S. commitment to South Korea was
"Let me assure you under President Trump's leadership, our
resolve has never been stronger. Our commitment to this historic
alliance with the courageous people of South Korea has never
Pence was beginning a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides
said was a sign of U.S. commitment to its ally in the face of
The U.S. nuclear-powered Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike
group is also heading to the region. (tmsnrt.rs/2p1yGTQ)
China, which Trump has urged to do more to rein in North
Korea, has spoken out against its weapons tests and has
supported U.N. sanctions. It has repeatedly called for talks
while appearing increasingly frustrated with the North.
Beijing banned imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26,
cutting off its most important export. China's customs
department issued an order on April 7 telling traders to return
North Korean coal cargoes, said trading sources with knowledge
of the order.
Trump's decision to order a cruise missile strike on a
Syrian airfield this month, in response to what he said was
Syria's use of chemical weapons, raised questions about his
plans for reclusive North Korea.
Pyongyang has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in
defiance of U.N. sanctions, and regularly threatens to destroy
South Korea and the United States.
"The president has made clear that he will not accept the
United States and its allies and partners in the region being
under threat from this hostile regime with nuclear weapons,"
McMaster told ABC.
But McMaster, who was speaking from Kabul, Afghanistan,
acknowledged the likelihood of North Korean retaliation if
Washington uses military force in an attempt to stop its weapons
"What (is) particularly difficult about - about dealing with
this regime, is that it is unpredictable," he said.
South Korea, which hosts 28,500 U.S. troops and holds a
presidential election on May 9, warned of punitive action if the
Sunday launch led to further provocation.
Impoverished North Korea and the rich, democratic South are
technically still at war because their 1950-1953 conflict ended
in a truce, not a peace treaty.
The North has warned of a nuclear strike against the United
States if provoked. It has said it has developed and would
launch a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but
officials and experts believe it is some time away from
mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a
North Korea launched a ballistic missile from the same
region this month, ahead of a summit between the United States
and China in Florida to discuss the North's arms program.
That missile, which U.S. officials said appeared to be a
liquid-fuelled, extended-range Scud, only flew about 60 km (40
miles), a fraction of its range, before spinning out of control.
Tension had escalated sharply amid concern the North may
conduct a sixth nuclear test or a ballistic missile test around
Saturday's celebration of Kim Il Sung's birthday, which it calls
the "Day of the Sun."
In Pyongyang, there was a festive atmosphere at a flower
show, with families out, taking pictures with North Korean-made
smartphones. There was no mention of the test failure by the
KCNA state news agency.
Company worker Rim Chung Ryol, 30, said he had not heard of
"If it is a failure, then failure is the mother of success,"
he told Reuters.
Factory worker Ri Gul Chol, 37, also had not heard about the
"But whatever Kim Jong Un decides and instructs will succeed
and all the citizens will support him," he said.
(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton and Ju-min Park in
SEOUL, Joseph Campbell and Philip Wen in DANDONG, Christian
Shepherd in BEIJING, Daniel Trotta in NEW YORK and Caren Bohan
in WASHINGTON; Writing by Nick Macfie and Warren Strobel;
Editing by Diane Craft and Peter Cooney)