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Pence to open Asian trip amid tensions with North Korea

FILE- In this April 4, 2017, file photo, Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a town hall with business leaders in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington. Pence is set to arrive Sunday, April 16, in South Korea as President Donald Trump vows that North Korea Kim Jong Un's government is a "problem" that will be "taken care of." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 Sunday in South Korea 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.

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