US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday (17 April) warned North Korea that the "era of strategic patience is over" and reiterated that "all options are on the table" with regard to stopping the reclusive regime from pursuing their nuclear goals.
Washington and its allies will achieve its objectives through "peaceable means or ultimately by whatever means are necessary" to protect South Korea and stabilise the region, Pence added during his visit to US base Camp Bonifas near the Demilitarised Zone – a 4km-wide buffer zone that divides North Korea from the South.
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Pence met military leaders and American troops stationed at the base. Later in the day, he is expected to hold talks with South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn to discuss security alliance in the wake of increasing threats from Pyongyang.
The American leader is currently on a three-day visit to South Korea as part of a 10-day tour of the Asia-Pacific. His arrival in Seoul was followed by a failed missile test by the Kim Jong-un regime, which recently showcased its military might during a parade held as part of the 105th birth anniversary celebrations of the nation's founding father Kim Il-sung.
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Reaffirming the US' commitment towards supporting its allies, Pence told reporters at the base that the alliance between Washington and Seoul is "iron-clad". He also warned the North Korean people and its military that they "should not mistake the resolve of the United States of America to stand with our allies".
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Further, the leader said that US President Donald Trump is hopeful that China – a key ally of the North – will use their "extraordinary levers" to deter the rogue nation from building nuclear weapons. Pence added that the Trump administration also hopes their clarity will be received in North Korea, according to the Associated Press.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that during meeting between Hwang and Pence, the two leaders are expected to reaffirm their agreement to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) in South Korea. Political observers also expect the two leaders to call on Beijing to stop its economic retaliation against South Korea over Thaad protest.
Following the talks with Hwang, Pence is scheduled to meet with National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun.
Pence will leave for Japan on Tuesday (18 April) from Seoul and also visit Indonesia and Australia during his 10-day tour.
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