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.
“North Korea is the most dangerous and urgent threat to the peace and security” of the region, Pence told US and Japanese Navy personnel as he visited the USS Ronald Regan at a US naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo.
“As (U.S.) President (Donald) Trump has made clear to the world, the era of strategic patience is over,” the vice president said.
However, he also said the U.S. will “continue to work diligently” with Japan, China and other allies in the region to “bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on” North Korea.
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.
Pence’s visit to two U.S. allies in East Asia, part of a four-nation tour set to include stops in Indonesia and Australia, comes amid rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.
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
105th anniversary of the birth of the late founding leader Kim Il Sung.
“Those who would challenge our resolve or our readiness should know we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response,” Pence said later in Wednesday’s remarks.
“The United States of America will always seek peace,” he said. “But under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.”

The nation

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