Vice President Mike Pence and his family spent the Easter weekend in South Korea. On Monday, he spoke in Seoul, near the Demilitarized Zone that separates the country from its northern neighbors.
The vice president claimed North Korea's missile failure was a “reminder of the risks” the country faces daily “in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world.”
As reported by Fox News, he had strong words of encouragement for the south:
“Your willingness to step forward, to serve, to stand firm without fear, inspires the nation and inspires the world.”
Pence called the failed missile launch a “provocation” and declared that the “era of strategic patience is over.” Pence told attendees:
“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.”
The vice president reiterated America's commitment to South Korea later on Monday and called the relationship “iron-clad and immutable.”
As reported by the New York Times, he recommended that North Korea should not “test the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.” However, he explained that Washington is attempting to solve the conflict “through peaceable means” first.
During his trip, Pence also paid a visit to the demarcation line between North and South Korea. While he planned to stay inside a building, the vice president ventured outside, flanked by United States and South Korea troops, to look into North Korea.
Less than a football field away, North Korean soldiers stood taking photos of him.
His strong stance came less than 24 hours after National Security Adviser Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster claimed that “this problem is coming to a head.”
McMaster told ABC's “This Week” that the National Security Council is preparing options and was told to “have them ready” for the president if the “destabilizing behavior continues.”
Pence's trip to Seoul is part of an Asia-Pacific tour and, according to CNN, the vice president will also visit Tokyo, Jakarta, Sydney, and Hawaii.