Pence: 'All Options Are On The Table' With North Korea
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 18, 2017,
Apr 18, 2017, 8:39
The demilitarised zone (DMZ) is a heavily mined, four-kilometre-wide strip of land lined with barbed wire running across the Korean peninsula, with soldiers on both sides in a continual eyeball-to-eyeball standoff.
"The United States and our allies have stood together for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula".
In the wake of North Korea's failed medium-range missile test this weekend, President Donald Trump is willing to consider ordering "kinetic" military action, including a sudden strike, to counteract North Korea's destabilizing actions in the region, said a person familiar with the White House's thinking.
North Korea is vowing to retaliate against US military aggression.
A failed North Korean missile test on Sunday, when an unidentified projectile exploded moments after being launched in an eastern port city, came in defiance of US President Donald Trump's demands for the country to halt its nuclear operations.
Vice President Mike Pence says the US commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable" in the face of North Korea's work to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile program.
He insisted "all options are on the table", as speculation intensifies over a possible pre-emptive American strike on the North in the wake of Washington's decision to dispatch a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier group to the peninsula.
Speaking in Seoul, Pence linked recent United States military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan with the situation in North Korea, saying they showed the "strength and resolve of our new President".
Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of USA ally Japan, also reiterated his believe that pressure, not only dialogue, is necessary in dealing with North Korea's missile and nuclear threat.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have ratcheted up in recent weeks, amid tit-for-tat saber-rattling from the USA and North Korea.
"The United States commitment to South Korea is iron clad".
The latest launch - which failed when the missile blew up seconds after blast off - came a day after the North held a defiant massive military parade in Pyongyang showcasing almost 60 missiles - including a suspected new intercontinental ballistic missile.
What appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles were on display in the parade.
Han Song-Ryol revealed the state would continue to test its missiles despite global condemnation and increasing military tensions with the United States.
Trump, who hosted Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Florida this month and has talked to him again more recently, has repeatedly tweeted that if China doesn't act on North Korea, the United States will. "We will see what happens!", Trump said on Twitter.
While Japan's trade surplus with the U.S.is much smaller than China's, Trump has decried the imbalance, especially in auto exports.
High-level dialogue between North Korea and China was cut back after the 2013 execution of Kim's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who was an advocate for Chinese-style economic reform and had been the major go-to person for leaders in Beijing.
The new and inexperienced U.S. president has indicated he will not allow North Korea to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the western United States.
Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, meets Pakistan's prime minister and army chief and emphasizes "the need to confront terrorism in all its forms", while praising democratic and economic development.
"This morning s provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face each and every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world", Pence told USA military families at an Easter dinner, at the start of a 10-day Asia tour.
Tensions on the peninsula have ratcheted up in recent weeks, amid tit-for-tat saber-rattling from the United States and North Korea and analysts' warnings that North Korea was preparing for a sixth nuclear test.
Pence is visiting Seoul as part of the first leg of a Asia-Pacific tour, which will include visits to Tokyo, Jakarta, and Sydney.
"We weren't surprised by it, we were anticipating it".
China has spoken out against the North's weapons tests and has supported United Nations sanctions.
Beijing banned imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off Pyongyang's most important export. She advised patience with China on the issue.
In a trip full of Cold War symbolism, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the tense zone dividing North and South Korea and warned Pyongyang that after years of testing the U.S. and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, "the era of strategic patience is over".
US and South Korean soldiers, foreground, and North Korean soldiers, background, stand guard in the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, South Korea.
Then, less than a week later, the USA military dropped a 22,000-pound bomb - the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States - on Islamic State forces in eastern Afghanistan.