Vice President Pence warned North Korea Monday the “era of strategic patience is over,” expressing impatience with the speed and willingness of the regime to ending its nuclear weapons program.
Pence, speaking near the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, said President Trump is hopeful that China will use its “extraordinary levers” to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its weapons.
“But the era of strategic patience is over,” Pence said. “President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out and we want to see change. We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable.”
Pence called North Korea’s failed missile launch “a provocation.” He said the U.S. and its allies will achieve its objectives through “peaceable means or ultimately by whatever means are necessary” to protect Seoul and stabilize the region.
Pence’s remarks come amid heightened tensions and heated rhetoric on the Korean Peninsula. While, the North did not conduct a nuclear test, the chance that they were going to escalated the U.S. response ahead of Pence’s 10-day tour of Asia. Pence also visited U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.
“This morning’s provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face 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 said. “Your willingness to step forward, to serve, to stand firm without fear, inspires the nation and inspires the world.”
Deputy national security adviser K.T. MacFarland told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that North Korea was a problem for everybody in the region, including China – the North’s strongest ally.
“North Korea is a liability to everybody and it’s a threat not just to the United States, not just to South Korea, not just to Japan, not just to Russia, but it’s actually a threat to China as well.”
H.R. McMaster, Trump’s top national security adviser, told ABC’s “This Week” the U.S. would rely on its allies as well as Chinese leadership to solve the issues with North Korea.
McMaster cited Trump’s recent decision to order missile strikes in Syria after a chemical attack blamed on the Assad government as a sign that the president “is clearly comfortable making tough decisions.” But at the same time, McMaster said, “it’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully.”
A North Korean missile exploded during launch on Sunday, U.S. and South Korean officials said. The high-profile failure came as the North tried to showcase its nuclear and missile capabilities around the birth anniversary of the North’s late founder and as a U.S. aircraft carrier neared the Korean Peninsula.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.