Pence makes unannounced trip to Korean demilitarized zone
Source: The Hill | by CYRA MASTER
Vice President Pence, in the midst of a 10-day Asia trip, is making an unannounced visit to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, according to pool reports.
At 9:30 a.m. local time, a Blackhawk helicopter carrying Pence landed at Camp Bonifas, South Korea, the gateway to the DMZ.
Pence is expected to move inside the DMZ shortly, according to the pool report.
Pence made remarks inside the DMZ, according to the pool report.
He said the relationship with South Korea is “ironclad and immutable” and reiterated the “resolve of the people of the United States and the President of the United States” to achieve security “through peaceable means, through negotiations.
“But all options are on the table as we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of South Korea for denuclearization of this peninsula and for the long term prosperity and freedom of the people of South Korea,” he added.
He said he was hopes China would help solve the problem, adding, “we look for them to do more.”
“The message of the people of the United States of America is that we seek peace, but America has always sought peace through strength.”
Asked for a message to the people of North Korea, Pence said:
“The people of North Korea, the military of North Korea should not mistake the resolve of the United States of America to stand with our allies. The alliance between South Korea and the United States is ironclad.”
The vice president added that “the era of strategic patience is over.”
The visit comes amid growing tensions between North Korea and the U.S.
North Korea attempted to launch a ballistic missile Sunday on its east coast but failed. That attempt came one day after North Korea held a military parade showing off its latest missiles.
Pence was briefed on the launch while on Air Force Two en route to South Korea on Saturday night. It’s the first part of his multi-nation trip to reaffirm U.S. ties to the region, officials said.
Last week, Trump ordered a navy strike group led by an aircraft carrier to the Western Pacific Ocean as a show of force, while U.S. officials weigh increased economic sanctions on the North.