United States Vice President Mike Pence made it clear that the country will no longer be ‘strategically patient’ with North Korea.
The U.S. second most powerful man made the remarks while on a visit to South Korea – a key US ally – to reassure her of stronger ties. He had an opportunity to tour the demilitarised zone (DMZ), an area that separates North Korea and South Korea.
The visit is timely as it comes at a time when tensions between the west and North Korea are on the rise. The North has in recent times been involved in repeated rhetoric of its ability to launch a long range missile, hitting America’s mainland.
Mike Pence landed in South Korea just some few hours after the Kim Jong-un led country conducted a failed missile test.
During the visit, both the US and South Korea began joint air force military in order to establish how prepared they are in the event the North launches an offensive.
Mr Pence is historically tied to the North, with his father having served the army during the Korean War. He spoke at the truce village of Panmunjom, where an agreement was reached for peace.
“My father served in the Korean War with the US army, and on the way here we actually saw some of the terrain my father fought alongside Korean forces to help earn your freedom,” he said at the camp. “We are grateful to all of those who each and every day stand in the gap for freedom here at the DMZ. It is a testament to the unshakeable bond between our people.”
No More Patience – Pence Warns North Korea
While speaking to reporters, he said that there was once a time when ‘strategic patience’ was important but that era is since long gone.
He added that it is in the interest of the US to find peace on the peninsula via peaceful means and negotiations, “but all options are on the table”.
He made it vivid that the US and South Korea have an “iron-clad alliance” which the North need not take lightly. The US will always stand by its allies.
The VP also took some time off in the day to tour Camp Bonifas, a UN military compound near the DMZ and got to chat with US military families relocated to South Korea.
Mike Pence held a meeting with the South’s acting President, who took over after the ousting of President Park Geun-hye over corruption allegations. His 10-day Asian trip will see him visit 4 nations.
Japan is expected to be among the countries he tours where he will extend the same reassurance. The other two nations he will tour are Australia and Indonesia.
Analysts had speculated that as North Korea celebrates its founding father’s birth day on 15 April, the day would be marked with another nuclear test. However, the day passed silently until on Sunday.
Even though the missile launch was a failure, many viewed it as a test to Trump who said that military action was still one way that could tame the rogue leader.