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Mike Pence Issues a Harsh Warning to North Korea

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea on Monday that “the era of strategic patience is over” and that “all options are on the table” if President Kim Jong-un continues to threaten the region with his missile and nuclear testing program.

Pence, who is currently on a ten day, four-nation Asia tour, spoke at a joint news conference in Seoul alongside South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn. The vice president’s comments come one day after North Korea’s latest failed missile test.

“North Korea will do well not to test our resolve or (the) strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region,” Pence said. “North Korea answered our overtures (for denuclearization) with willful deception, broken promises, and nuclear and missile tests.

Pence pointed to the U.S.’s latest military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan as proof of President Donald Trump’s resolve.

The vice president issued the warning as he looked out across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea, which he described as the “frontier of freedom.”

Pence’s late father, Edward, served in the Army during the Korean War and was awarded the Bronze Star on April 15, 1953.

“My father served in the Korean War in the U.S. Army. On the way here, we saw some of the terrain my father fought in,” he said. “We’re grateful every day. It’s a great honor to be here.

The DMZ is four kilometers (2.5 miles) wide, stretches 250 kilometers (160 miles), and is riddled with guard posts and land mines. It was established by the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korea War.

However, the North and South are still technically at war with each other, since no peace treaty has ever been signed.

National security advisor H.R. McMaster recently echoed Pence and the of the Trump administration’s foreign policy towards North Korea.

He told ABC’s This Week that “the consensus with the president, our key allies in the regions – Japan and South Korea in particular, but also the Chinese leadership – is that this problem is coming to a head. It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged North Korea to refrain from making further provocations, comply with UN resolutions, and abandon its nuclear missile development.

“Japan will closely cooperate with the U.S. and South Korea over North Korea and will call for China to take a bigger role,” Abe told parliament.

In what is perhaps a response to the U.S.’s new hardline stance against North Korea, China and Russia have deployed intelligence-gathering vessels to follow the USS Carlson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that America has stationed outside the Korean Peninsula.

But still, China recently appealed to Russia to help with the heightening tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, fearing that a full-scale conflict could brake out shortly.

Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, asked his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, for assistance during a reported phone call.

“China is ready to coordinate closely with Russia to help cool down as soon as possible the situation on the peninsula and encourage the parties concerned to resume dialogue,” Yi said.

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