Pence, speaking in the perilous Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, reiterated that ‘all options are on the table’ to deal with the threat posed by Pyongyang.
After travelling to the region with his family, Pence said President Donald Trump is hopeful that China will now use its ‘extraordinary levers’ to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear and ballistic program.
Seoul was Pence’s first stop on a four-nation tour in Asia. Following is a transcript of the video.
Strategic patience has been the approach of the last American administration and beyond. For more than two decades the United States and our allies have worked to peacefully dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program and alleviate the suffering of their people. But at every step of the way, North Korea answered our overtures with willful deception, broken promises and nuclear and missile tests.
Over the past 18 months, North Korea has conducted two unlawful nuclear tests and an unprecedented number of ballistic missile tests, even conducting a failed missile launch as I traveled here for this visit. The era of strategic patience is over.
Earlier this month, President Trump met with Chinese President Xi at the southern White House. The two leaders noted the urgency of the threat posed by North Korea’s weapons programs, and each of them reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean peninsula during that meeting on April the seventh.
They also committed to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions and to increase cooperation to convince North Korea to abandon its illicit weapons program. It is heartening to see China commit to these actions, but the United States is troubled by China’s economic retaliation against South Korea for taking appropriate steps to defend itself.
The better path would be for China to address the North Korean threat that is actually making such defensive measures necessary. Now while issues like that remain, the president and I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea.
But as President Trump made clear just a few short days ago, if China is unable to deal with North Korea, the United States and our allies will.