Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea on Monday that it could be subject to actions similar to those taken in Syria and Afghanistan - both of which President Donald Trump's administration bombed this month - if it continues with its nuclear program.
The "strategic patience" doctrine, which was used by the previous Barack Obama administration, hinged on the United States focusing on isolating North Korea by putting pressure on them through sanctions and waiting for them to denuclearise.
The United States, 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 on Sunday, citing what he called an global consensus to act. "Start a trade war with China while in the middle of Xi working on a bigger problem, frankly, with North Korea?" said Mr Trump.
Tensions between Pyongyang and the Western world have steadily increased in recent years, as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has repeatedly ordered ballistic missile tests - acts that many US officials view as provocative events.
Speaking in Pyongyang, he said: "We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis".
That deal was soon scuppered, however, when North Korea carried out its first nuclear test in October 2006 then pulled out of the discussions in 2009.
Trump on Monday said his message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was: "Got to behave". While the North did not conduct a nuclear test, the specter of a potential test and an escalated US response has trailed Pence as he undertakes his Asian tour.
Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its weapons development, but North Korea's Deputy UN ambassador is accusing the Trump Administration of acting like "gangsters". He called a recent USA and South Korean military exercise the largest "aggressive war drill" aimed at North Korea. These are techniques that could electronically affect North Korean missiles before launch or as they lift off.
"You want the Chinese to do the right on North Korea because it genuinely is a threat. not as a favor", said Medeiros.
He said if China will join the United States and other nations in enforcing sanctions, they "can bring enormous pressure on the leadership of North Korea" and that may be enough to halt the nuclear program. They are expected to be joined by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in Tokyo for his own talks with Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko.
Last week President Trump authorized a bomb strike on a Syrian government airbase in retaliation against a chemical weapons attack that killed civilians in Syria.
The unannounced visit at the start of Pence's 10-day trip to Asia was a USA show of force that allowed him to gaze at North Korean soldiers from afar and stare directly across a border marked by razor wire.
After 25 years of trying to deal patiently with North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions, Pence said, "all options are on the table" to deal with threat. And he warned that any use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang would be met with "an overwhelming and effective response".
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Mattis did not identify the type of missile but said it was not of intercontinental range, meaning it could not reach US territory.
However, a USA foreign policy adviser travelling with Pence sought to defuse some of the tension, saying Sunday's test of what was believed to be a medium-range missile had come as no surprise. "Conceivably, they'd prefer not to see instability and military escalation on the Korean Peninsula".
But while the current state of technological advancement of North Korea's weapons programme matters deeply to the outside world, in particular its near neighbours, the hostile rhetoric is rarely something to take at face value.