On Monday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence issued a warning to North Korea that “the era of strategic patience is over” while speaking in South Korea. Following a visit to the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas into North and South, Pence and South Korean acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn held a joint news conference in which the leaders from both nations condemned North Korea’s numerous acts of provocation.
While ensuring the South Korean people that America’s commitment to them was “ironclad and immutable,” Pence said that dealing with the threat of the North Korean regime is the most important commitment.
“Nowhere is that more evident than with our commitment to confront the region’s most dangerous and urgent threat to peace and security — the regime in North Korea,” he said.
“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new President in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” the vice president continued. “North Korea would do well not to test his resolve — or the strength of the Armed Forces of the United States in this region.”
Pence reassured South Korea that America would continue the efforts to defend against the North.
“We will continue to deploy the THAAD missile-defense system as a defensive measure — called for by the alliance, and for the alliance,” he said. “We will continue to evolve a comprehensive set of capabilities to ensure the security of South Korea.”
“As our Secretary of Defense made clear here in South Korea not long ago, we will defeat any attack, and we will meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective response,” Pence continued.
Pence then went on to criticize the past U.S. administration, as well as ones that came before, saying that their “strategic patience” approach has failed.
“Strategic patience has been the approach of the last American administration and beyond,” he said. “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,” Vice President Pence continued.
“The era of strategic patience is over,” he said.