North Korea poses the “most dangerous and urgent threat” to the Asia-Pacific region, visiting Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier stationed in Japan.
“As (U.S.) President (Donald) Trump has made clear to the world, the era of strategic patience is over,” the vice president said.
Pence arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday for a two-day visit, after wrapping up a three-day trip to South Korea, including a visit to the Demilitarised Zone between North and South Korea.
He reassured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday that the U.S. stands behind Japan in the face of a nuclear threat from North Korea.
“We are with you 100 per cent,” he told the premier.
His remarks also coincided with an embarrassing U.S. admission on Tuesday that an aircraft carrier Trump said 10 days ago was sailing to waters off the Korean Peninsula was in fact heading in the opposite direction.
The USS Carl Vinson was now heading north to the Western Pacific “as a prudent measure,” according to the US Pacific Command.
Under leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has ramped up its programmes, carrying out two nuclear tests and launching some 20 ballistic missiles last year alone.
Pyongyang made a failed ballistic missile launch attempt on Sunday, a day after the reclusive nation marked the
“The United States of America will always seek peace,” he said. “But under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.”